Of Course It Would Snow The Day Before Thanksgiving

Of course there would be a snow storm the day before Thanksgiving. Hoping everyone made it safely to their destinations! 

Here is vine of the snow coming down in the Burlington, Vt. area tonight:

 

Report: 74% Will Use Mobile Devices to Shop During Black Friday Weekend

Report: 74% Will Use Mobile Devices to Shop During Black Friday Weekend

The Consumer Electronic Association’s (CEA) 2014 Pre-Black Friday Report found that 74% will use their mobile devices to shop during the Black Friday weekend. That’s the highest amount recorded for the survey.

According to the CEA, consumers will use their mobile devices to compare products and prices and find deals from retailers.

How People Will Use Their Mobile Devices

Of those surveyed, 29% say they will search for deals on social media, 27% will use apps on their smartphones or tablets, and 14% will use text message notifications.

“Mobile use is strongly influencing the consumer’s shifting shopping patterns around Thanksgiving weekend,” said Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D., chief economist, CEA and author of CEA’s soon-to-be released book Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Work, Live, and Communicate. “With the help of mobile devices, this year will be online shopping’s biggest Black Friday weekend yet and we’ll see that materialize in a number of ways.”

See when stores are opening for Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the U.S. consumer electronics industry.

See How Twitter Reacted to the Grand Jury’s Decision

People took to social media after the grand jury announced their decision whether or not to indict Darren Wilson in death of Michael Brown in August.

The St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced Monday night that the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson.

Here’s how people reacted to the news.

Where People Were Talking About the Decision

The Number of Tweets, Before, During, and After the Announcement

What’s Happening in Ferguson, Around the Country After No Indictment Decision

See what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri and around the country in the wake of the grand jury indictment announcement.

The grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown in August. Protests have been ongoing in Ferguson and around the country.

Some video may contain explicit language.

Video postings do not equate endorsement of activity. Videos are supposed to show what’s happening in response to the grand jury decision.

Interview With Animoto CEO Brad Jefferson on How Video is Helping Us Stay Connected

Interview With Animoto CEO Brad Jefferson on How Video is Helping Us Stay Connected

Online video is changing how we communicate with our loved-ones. We can video chat, send video messages, send Vines, and post videos on our websites and social media pages. And with the holidays right around the corner, a new survey by Animoto found that 78% say they plan to mark this holiday season with a video greeting.

I had the opportunity to interview Brad Jefferson, CEO and co-founder of Animoto, to share his thoughts on how online video is helping us stay connected with our loved-ones.

BradJefferson

Animoto CEO Brad Jefferson

1. How has video creation/sharing changed over the year?

Today, consumers can create and share video across across a huge number of devices and platforms, making it easier than ever to share cherished moments and life events with video. The Animoto Video Creation Study surveyed 1,031 U.S. consumers who had recorded or created a personal video in the past six months and found that three quarters of consumers surveyed have used their smartphone to capture video, and more than half of consumers do so at least once a week. People are sharing videos on social media and also via email and SMS, allowing them to relive moments again and again right at their fingertips.

2. What is contributing to the rise in video creation/sharing?

Consumers are choosing video to mark the most important moments in their lives, and are sharing their videos as readily as they shared photos five years ago. People want to bring special moments to life and preserve those special memories through something other than a static collection of photographs. And now with the wide array of tools available for sharing and creating, including HD-quality video cameras on smartphones in their pockets, consumers are commemorating their life stories with video more than ever.

In addition, 81 percent of consumers surveyed agree that video makes them feel more connected to family and friends, showing the powerful emotional impact of video. There’s been a significant shift from traditional methods of paper cards to dynamic videos this season, emphasizing a break in tradition. Fifty-four percent of consumers that we surveyed also prefer to receive videos as an alternative to holiday cards and 78 percent are planning to create a holiday video this year. This shows that people prefer to give their loved ones a more personal and thoughtful glimpse into their lives by using video.

3. How have sites like Animoto help “break tradition” in terms of video creation/sharing?

With technology like Animoto, it’s become simpler than ever for people to create and share video quickly and easily. Animoto allows you to pull your videos and pictures from where they already exist, and put together an HD-quality video in minutes. Almost all consumers we surveyed cited ease of use as the most important feature they’re looking for in a video creation tool. We also found that one in three consumers we surveyed create video primarily because they enjoy being creative, and three quarters create video to have as a keepsake — all features that Animoto prides itself in delivering to our customers. As it becomes easier to make a high-quality video in just minutes from any device, we see people choosing to create video more readily.

4. What’s the biggest obstacle for consumers when creating video?

The biggest obstacle for most people is simply getting started. Creating a video may seem intimidating and time-consuming, but in reality tools like Animoto make it easy to create beautiful videos in minutes. We often hear that people see an Animoto video and say, “I could never make that,” but the beauty of tools like Animoto is that everyone can make a video because it really is that easy.

5. What’s the most popular time people are creating/sending videos to family?

Video is being chosen more frequently over static email or cards, and I was curious to learn if consumers demand video for a specific occasion or event. Nearly three quarters of consumers that we surveyed make it a priority to create videos for important life events, like a retirement or graduation, and a few occasions popped up as most popular. Birthdays, vacations, and Mother’s and Father’s Day are the most frequent events when people create and share video, while nearly half of all consumers have used videos to replace traditional “season’s greetings” cards.

6. For the holidays, how many video greetings are you anticipating to be sent through Animoto? How does this compare to previous years?

The stretch from Thanksgiving to New Years is always the most popular time for consumers to send and receive Animoto videos, and we expect to break our record again this year. Personally, I expect to receive several Animoto videos this holiday season, and while I won’t be able to hang them on my fridge like I do with paper cards, I enjoy them so much more as video gives a glimpse into people’s lives in a way that static photos can’t.

7. How will video continue to change how we communicate with our loved-ones in the future?

Video is here to stay and it’s even becoming as common of a form of communication as text messages and emails. From Apple’s Facetime and Google Hangouts to newer tools like Facebook’s “Thank You” videos, video has been cemented as a major force in our lives. Since real-time and near real-time communication is the most genuine when it takes place over video, then it’s logical that special occasions also deserve to be commemorated with video. Video will continue to play a critical role in how we communicate with loved ones as more tools emerge that make it easy to send and receive videos and our overall familiarity with video increases.

Are you sending holiday video greeting this year?

With the rise of video creation apps are you sending any to your loved-ones? Vote in the poll below and let me know.

This interview does not equate to endorsement or promotion of Animoto. 

Website Goals and What I’m Working On

New goals shouldn’t have to wait until New Year’s. So I’m announcing some today.

Becoming More Active on Vine, Instagram

By the end of the year I’d like to have this many posts on Vine and Instagram:

Instagram: 35 posts → 70 posts

Vine: 3 posts → 15 posts

Video is important and my goal is to increase the number of videos I am posting on my website and blog. This, I’m hoping, will make the site a bit more engaging for my readers.

Interactive Portfolio

Right now, I’m working on making my portfolio more interactive and engaging. I’m rebuilding from the bottom up a new website to host all of my best work. I’m hoping to have this completed sometime during the first or second week in December.

I’m also working on making my portfolio easier to read and navigate on mobile devices.

Rebranding

I also plan on mixing up post types and including more articles about digital and social media. I am also looking to increase the number of unique interview stories. My first one will be posted tomorrow morning.

All social media and SEO strategy and analysis articles will now be posted on www.pixelinsights.com.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving and Black Friday Hours 2014 Edition

Thanksgiving and Black Friday Hours 2014 Edition

A guide to when stores are opening on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

You can search for a particular store by scrolling or searching. Check specific stores, even hours specified, for the most updated opening/closing times for each store.

Data: Each Store

Grab The Code

<iframe src="http://www.joegullo.net/interactive/thanksgivingblackfridayhours.html" width="600" height="2450" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" seamless=""></iframe> Data: Each Store / Created by: Joe Gullo. 

Before embedding, please read the terms of use.

Your Thoughts

As more and more stores open earlier and earlier for holiday sales, do you think they should be open on Thanksgiving? Weigh in by taking the poll below:

Number of Unauthorized Immigrants by State

President Obama announced an executive action, in an address to the nation, to fix the nation’s broken immigration system last night.

Under the president’s executive order, the United States will:

  • We will build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel;
  • We will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed;
  • We will take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.

“What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal — that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will,” President Obama said in his address to the nation on Thursday.

House Republican Conference Chair Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) responded to the president’s address:

“The President articulated his plan to act unilaterally on one of the most significant issues facing America: the future of 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country. His decision to act alone blatantly disregards the will of the American people: for their elected leaders to work together and enact effective, long-term solutions that make people’s lives better.

Rep. Rodgers also stated that America needs a permanent solution and not a quick fix to the immigration issue.

A Look at Authorized Immigration Across the Country

A report by Pew Research Center found that unauthorized immigration totals rose in 7 states and fell in 14.

The states that saw an increase: Idaho, Nebraska, Florida, Virgina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. The states that saw decrease were Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Ilinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, New York, and Massachusetts. All other states didn’t see a change in unauthorized immigration totals.

Click on a state to see

Data: Pew Research Center

Grab The Code

<iframe src="http://www.joegullo.net/interactive/unauthorizedimmigrantsbystate.html" width="600" height="450" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" seamless=""></iframe> Data: Pew Research Center / Created by: Joe Gullo. 

Before embedding, please read the terms of use.

Do you support President Obama’s executive order on immigration reform?

Owen Swipes Lego Man Off the Table

For some reason Owen does not like Lego Man and always seems to knock it off the table. Check out this Vine:

You Could Be Losing Money By Outsourcing Comments

You Could Be Losing Money By Outsourcing Comments

You could be losing money by outsourcing comments to sites other than your own.

According to Social Times, a report by Spot.IM, SimilarWeb, and AdClarity released data “showing that digital publishers could be leaving around 30 million ‘on the table’ by not optimizing social interaction on their website.”

For this reason, I’m not quite sure why Reuters is choosing to abandon their commenting feature on their website.

Community Building on Your Website

It’s tempting with the rise of social media to drive conversations on these platforms. While you should do that, you should also shift attention to your building and managing communities on your website.

By having a commenting section on your website it allows for:

  • Stronger ties with your community
  • More control over your community – you’re not at the whim of social network.
    • Think about this, if a social network disappears tomorrow where will your customers go for your community?
  • Higher engagement and recollection of your brand.
  • Our ultimate goal is to have them arrive at our site anyway – community building there is a must.

Social media websites are a community of users, but a community on your website is built around your brand.

The bottom line: focus on your website’s community first then on your social media communities. They are not interchangeable and should not replace one another. They both have strategic places in your brand’s digital strategy.