Armadillo Studios Inc.

DCWEEK2010: Media 2.0 Day & The Probono Lounger

For the past two days, Team Armadillo has venture into the heart of D.C. for two separate “Digital Capital Week Events”:http://www.digitalcapitalweek.org.

Media 2.0

On Tuesday, Armadillo descended on to the headquarters of National Geographic for a full day discussion on “Media and it’s role in the Web 2.0 World”:http://www.bivingsreport.com/2010/dcweek-media-2-0-day/. With a heavy hitting list of speakers from NPR, USAToday, National Geographic and the Pew Institute it was a wonderful day chalk-full of information.

Some of the most interesting tid-bits of information from the day came from the round table discussion in the morning on Social and Traditional Media.

Yes, this topic has been dissected ad nauseam at many other conferences and events, but this panel provided some interesting insight into the evolution of Social Media by some of the giants of Traditional Media. From the NPR’s usage of crowd-sourcing to provide geo-locational information in advance of Hurricane Gustov to The National Geographic’s implementation of a powerful members site to allow a more immersible social experience with their product, it was a refreshing site to hear the supposed _dinosaurs of traditional media_ embracing and championing Social Media.

But one of the most interesting concepts came from USAToday’s Brian Dresher who revealed a new spin on a frequently discussed topic – *ROIII – Return on Interaction, Influence and Investment*.

This concept is one of the key factors that USAToday leverages to analyze and evaluate their implementation of Social Media. It essentially expands upon the typical monetary value placed on Social Media and instead looks at how much interaction and influence USAToday is able to grow with the latest upcoming technology.

Probono Consulting Lounger

On Wednesday, Armadillo Studios had the pleasure of partaking in a special DCweek event called – “The Probono Lounge”:http://digitalcapitalweek.org/2010/06/dcweek-goes-probono/.

Essentially, this 4 hour brainstorming/work session was designed to pair Designers, Strategists and Developers with local D.C. area non-profits and help them tweak their online presence.

Armadillo Studios was lucky to team up with an excellent group of WordPress specialists and developers to help two local organizations – “DC Food For All”:http://dcfoodforall.com/ and “Bread For The City”:http://www.breadforthecity.org/. And while some technical difficulties limited everyone’s ability to really pour into the code, the event was a great success with the seeds of future collaboration planted.

Up Next…

Thursday is another big day at DCWeek with the ever popular “140 Conference”:http://dc.140conf.com/ set to take place.

Congratulations To Mike’s Bloggity Blog

We just wanted to send a congratulatory note to our good friend Mike Morrison of Mike’s Bloggity Blog for being named the “Best Calgary Blog in Fast Forward’s Best of 2010 poll”:http://mikesbloggityblog.com/2010/06/bloggity-named-best-in-calgary.html.

We kinda feel like that proud cousin (or high school friend) that watches their multi-talented friend make it big.

So a big virtual HIGH-FIVE goes out to Mike.

Congratulations.

Facebook Fan Page Fan-tastic

It is with great pleasure that Armadillo Studios announces our new “Facebook Fan Page”:http://www.facebook.com/armadillostudios.

As you can see our new Facebook Fan Page is a fully customized site, which aims to show the *playful* side of Armadillo Studios and to also demonstrate the potential power of the *Facebook Fan Page*. We built all the elements of the Armadillo Studios landing page using FBML (Facebook Meta Language), a new cannon of design code which allows page owners to dramatically enhance the Facebook experience for their fans.

But Why Launch a Fan Page Now?

Some of you may be asking, _why is a Web Design and Social Media outfit only jumping on the Facebook Fan Page bandwagon now_?

To answer that, let’s look quickly at the Facebook platform.

When Facebook first started gaining some traction with the college crowd, it created a unique subsection for people to organize called *Groups*. As everyone now knows, Groups allow up to 5,000 users to band together to show their admiration for a wealth of topics. But the major flaw, with Groups, is that it was quite difficult to connect with your followers. Without a constant level of interaction between groups and their followers, most groups faded into the distance.

Now fast forward to the beginning of 2009 and Facebook is set to launch a new system called “Fan Pages”:http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/02/16/facebook-to-launch-redesigned-pages-for-businesses-tour-first-impressions/.

*Fan Pages are Group pages on steroids* – no limits on membership, the ability to post new content directly into your fan’s activity stream and the ability to customize the layout. When they first launched many organizations made the switch instantaneously, but one of the hidden elements of the new customizable elements was the ability to create new pages using *FBML* (Facebook Meta Language).

In recent months, FMBL has undergone a series of dramatic enhancements to the point where those who are familiar with the language, can now utilize this new tool to fully customize the Fan Page experience.

FMBL and The Future of Fan Pages

It’s because of the evolution of FBML that we felt it was time to create a new identity for the company on Facebook.

With FBML, organizations can now build a unique identity on Facebook which is akin to their own goals – something that will standout from the competition. These tools now allow users to create their own mini-web sites within Facebook. And with the unprecedented growth of Facebook in certain demographics, it is now more important than ever to make a great first impression.

Because of these developments, we believe that *Facebook Fan Pages are going to be a powerful new tool for companies and community organizations*. And while we think our own page is pretty darn fan-tastic, here are some examples of what can be done with Facebook Fan Pages:

* “The New England Patriots”:http://www.facebook.com/newenglandpatriots
* “Bullfrog Power’s – Pay More For Energy Campaign”:http://www.facebook.com/BullfrogPower
* “Gerry Loves Records – An indie record label out of Edinburgh”:http://www.facebook.com/gerrylovesrecords
* “Victoria Secret”:http://www.facebook.com/victoriassecret

So don’t just take our word on it, some of the biggest players in the internet industry are already taking note.

Fan Pages & Your Company

The beauty of Facebook fan pages is that they can built for a fraction of the cost of a regular web site and they also allow you a direct connection to your fans (via streaming your updates directly in to your fan’s stream). So if you like what you see with our own “Facebook Fan Page”:http://www.facebook.com/armadillostudios, send us a note at *info@armadillostudios.ca*.

If you get in contact with us to develop a Fan Page by July 15th, we’ll give you an introductory discount of 20% on our development rate.

SXSW10: Links For Your Enjoyment

As previously mentioned SXSW is long over and the overviews are starting to roll in. As usual, I’m a little late with my final blog posts. So instead of waxing poetically about the conference, here is a run down of some of the links that you should have a gander at. They cover the entire spectrum of the conference, from influential thinkers to upcoming design techniques to new tools for business:

Social Media Thinkers & Shakers

* “Chris Brogan”:http://www.chrisbrogan.com/my-plans-for-sxsw/ and “Julien Smith”:http://inoveryourhead.net/, the two brains behind the exceptional book Trust Agents. If you are involved with building an online brand or personal brand, invest in this book.
* Washington DC Visual Information collective “JESS3”:http://www.jess3.com.
* Uber-entrepreneur “Gary Vanyerchuk”:http://garyvaynerchuk.com/, who is an amazing inspiration for people looking to build a Company brand.

Web Typography

* “Samantha Warren”:http://www.slideshare.net/SamanthaWarren/sxsw-2010 a fantastic designer who is pushing the World of Web Typography, with some great poster based design.
* “Jason Cranford Teague”:http://www.jasonspeaking.com/index.php/about/ wrote a book called “Fluid Web Typography”:http://www.peachpit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0321679989, which is a fantastic and straight forward break down of the up coming shift towards Web Typography.

Interesting Takes On SXSW and Design Culture

* A Graphical representation of the SXSW Conference thorough a series of “Moleskin notebook sketches (via. Roh Design)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/rohdesign/sets/72157623522676011/
* Unhappy Hipsters, a collection of “Wallpaper magazine photos with unhappy hipster commentary”:http://unhappyhipsters.com/

New Tools For Everyone:

* “Wufoo.com”:http://wufoo.com/signup/ a simple web site that allows anyone to develop simple and stylish web forms.
* “Mapscripting.com”:http://mapscripting.com/way-cool, which is a pushing the boundaries of what Google Maps and Yahoo Maps can do for small businesses.
* “Grasshopper.com”:http://grasshopper.com/how-it-works/ is an inexpensive Toll Free phone office service for small businesses. (There is also a Canadian Equivalent called “RingCentral”:http://www.ringcentral.ca/ which Canadian businesses should check-out)
* “Launch’s take on Leave Your Job Start An Agency”:http://www.lunch.com/reviews/Leave_Your_Job_Start_An_Agency-1439609.html, the feedback to our talk from SXSW
* From our good friend Andy at “NonImage”:http://www.nonimage.com, is the amazing Invoicing app called “FreeAgent”:http://www.freeagentcentral.com/?referrer=31l1ldro, which will revolutionalize how freelancers control their own books.
* “OneForty.com”:http://oneforty.com/ the ultimate resource for Twitter apps to leverage for your business.
* A great presentation on the power and beauty of “Co-Working and how it will change our own way of working”:http://spinuzzi.blogspot.com/2010/03/sxswi-what-coworking-tells-us-about.html. If you are interested in coworking in Calgary check out “Coworkyyc.com”:http://www.coworkyyc.com.

SXSW10: The Big Showdown – GoWalla vs. Foursquare

Well, now that SXSW 2010 is over and everyone has begun shoring up “their own conference overviews”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/09/location-is-the-new-just-kill-yourself/, It’s about time I finish off the last two posts on the conference.

So with out further adieu, here’s my take on the “other big topic at this year’s festival”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/sxsw10-the-big-trend-is-web-typography. Yes, friends without question the big showdown of *SXSW 2010* was between geo-locational social network superpowers “GoWalla & Foursquare”:http://twitpic.com/18fgd6.

The big guns were definitely brought out to play, as each of the two superpowers fought for the affection of the influential _first adopter_ crowd. In laymen terms, *they were coveting the nerds*.

The idea being that, if you win the Nerds (First Adopters), they’ll return to their home town and influence others to join the network. Now to preface it, both foursquare and gowalla were predominant at the ’09 version of the festival, but this was the big year. iPhones and Smartphones were are as common as underwear at SXSW and pretty much everyone at the conference was already using one of two power house apps. But the key for these two start-ups was to convert the nerds to their own service. To come out one top and _create the next Twitter Effect_.

So after all the final software updates, redesigns, secret badges and super, super duper checks-in were completed, who won?

The Big Winner Is…

Well, this may come as a shock, but I would have to venture that Austin based “GoWalla”:http://gowalla.com/blog/2010/03/sxsw-2010-redux/ was the slight winner. Which for those following the Geo-Locational Network apps battle (or “even this web site”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/foursquare-starts-to-make-waves-in-calgary) will see as a bit of shock.

“Foursquare”:http://www.foursquare.com has been the _it company_ for this new section of the Social Media spectrum for over a year, with “predominant deals with national and local media outlets”:http://foursquare.com/metronews and a buzz that’s rivaled Twitter. But, with an ill-timed redesign roll-out and some glaring downtime issues, Foursquare seemed to miss a golden opportunity to squash the competition. Rather than blowing the socks off of the crowd, it left with a small whimper of excitement. Instead, smaller “GoWalla”:http://www.gowalla.com was able to keep rolling with a crisper interface design (“just look at those gorgeous icons”:http://gowalla.com/spots) and leverage the _cool small guy_ vibe to win over a majority of the _nerds_. By the end of the five days, most dedicated Social Media Enthusiasts and Insiders were gravitating towards GoWalla and away from Foursquare.

What this means for the future of Geo-Locational Networks is something that will play out shortly, but for the future if you are looking to expand your business into the Foursquare network, it would be best to keep one eye on GoWalla as you start to build your strategy. (Don’t worry, they are both fairly interchangeable) Foursquare will still maintain it’s buzz and significant edge on users, but GoWalla made a solid impression.

The question for the future will be, was it enough to sway a majority of the _First Adopters_ and their friends to make the switch.