Coffee Break: Four Articles Worth Reading

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We’ve been reading some great stuff at Pravda Media Group that you might enjoy as well.  So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit down, and get your read on — you’ll feel more productive than if you’re just trawling Facebook.


Eight Ways To Go Viral

Uzi Shmilovici, CEO and founder of Future Simple, explains virality and demonstrates some great tools companies use to boost theirviral factor.


Why Android updates are a mess: it’s the business model

Ed Bott explains why The Android business model practically guarantees that updates will be a mess.


The Amazing Power of Deflationary Economics for Startups

Mark Suster argues that the most succesfull internet companies are the ones that offer amazing value  at high volumes which  makes it nearly impossible for high-cost incumbents to compete.


The year in mobile apps: Where we’ve been, where we’re going

Erica Ogg gives a nice overlook at the year we’ve had of mobile apps and has some great predictions for what’s ahead.


And we’re curious:  What have YOU been reading?



Inside Pravda Media Group: New Blogs for Our Clients

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There are some exciting things happening for our clients that we want to share with you:

PrimeSense is gearing up for CES 2012 – a huge consumer electronics tradeshow, located this year in Las Vegas.  PrimeSense has some really exciting things planned, and they promise to revolutionize the way you see your living room.

For more information – including some great tips if you’re attending CES 2012 this year — check out their new blog:

We are also thrilled to be working with Babylon on their new My Life in Translation series.  These posts are written by well-known bloggers as well as Babylon users, and they offer poignant insights into the peaks and pitfalls of navigating new linguistic and cultural terrain.  These posts are humorous and touching, and we hope you’ll get a chance to check some of them out.

You've got to Learn to Listen: Three Ways To Increase Marketing Effectiveness

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Let’s face it. We love to hear the sound of our own voices.

When I was single, one of the best pieces of dating advice I ever got was to let the other person speak through the whole date because she will adore you by the end of it. The reason is simple: It is much easier to talk than to listen to others.

But the reality that just like in any relationship, one must listen to the other side in order to better understand them. Brands are facing the same situation on a daily basis. The holy grail of modern marketing is creating and cultivating relationships between brands and their target audience.  Therefore, listening is a key to reaching this goal

Thankfully, several companies are offering listening and monitoring platforms that makes this task easy. We’ve chosen due to their great team, technology, and customer service.

Conversation Distribution by Platforms via

But technology is not enough. It is all about what you do with it. So, with no further ado, here are some of the key ways to use listening as a strategic tool in your digital marketing toolbox:

Tweak your product and pitch – by listening to target audience conversations, we have been able to gain insight about general topics of interest. For example, when listening to online discussions of IT managers, we were able to ascertain their key concerns and challenges. This provided  valuable input to our client, as they could fine-tune their pitch and online presence.

Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing – one of our clients invested a lot of money in extending the warranty of their products. They saw it as a key way to differentiate themselves from their competition. A month after they launched their program we analyzed online discussions of potential buyers of their equipment, and saw that warranty was not mentioned as a key decision factor. Not only that, but we also saw that the amount of online conversations about their offering didn’t change at all after launching their extended warranty.. These findings helped our client reach a decision regarding the efficacy and value of their new marketing program.

Prioritize your marketing efforts – the digital landscape is becoming more and more fragmented. Multiple social networks, the need to combine inbound and outbound marketing methods, the ever growing pressure to reach results, and the shrinking marketing budgets pose a challenge to every decision maker. The value of Inbound marketing increases based on corporate investment. This investment grows based on the amount of platforms and campaigns a company is managing at any given time. Therefore, prioritizing and choosing which platform to focus on is extremely important. By effectively  listening to online conversations  about your market, you can easily identify the hotspots that require attention. For some, LinkedIn is the key to success. Others  prefer Facebook, and others still – heaven forbid —continue to use good old fashioned forums to discuss their buying decisions. We are using a cool report to quickly plan and prioritize our marketing efforts, and make sure we are handling the most important platforms for our clients.

Listening in love — and in marketing — is a key to success. It is not a one time thing, but should be part of an  ongoing process interwoven in the world of digital marketing. We gave here only a couple of examples on how to use it strategically. Stay tuned for future posts with additional case studies. And in the meantime, we would love to hear your insights.

Before You 'Friend' Your Parents on Facebook, Make Sure They Understand These Six Rules

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Dear Parental Unit –

Uh, welcome to Facebook.  I guess.

I accepted your Facebook friend request on good faith but we’ve reached a point where I think we need to lay out a few ground rules because I am seriously thisclose to defriending you.


  1. First of all, the poking has got to stopSeriously.  It’s just weird.   Please don’t make me explain why.  (Not since we talked about where babies come from have I been this uncomfortable.)
  2. Why are you commenting on every status update? And do you even know what LMFAO means?
  3. Please take down any and all family pictures where I am wearing headgear, have a mullet, and/or am in the buff. If you ever want me to get married and give you grandchildren, you will comply with this request immediately.
  4. And on that note, please stop playing matchmaker. Just because it says “doctor” or “lawyer” in someone’s profile does not mean you need to send me a friend suggestion.  It’s especially weird when you don’t even know the person you’re suggesting I friend in the first place.
  5. Um, hey guys? Everyone can read what you write on my wall.  Everyone. So please stop publicly reminding me to “get that rash checked.”  Again, if you ever want me to get married and give you grandchildren, you will stop doing this right now.
  6. And finally, if I delete a wall post (see above) do not repost it just in case I didn’t see it. Believe me:  I saw it.

Look.  I think it’s great that you’ve gotten all cyber-savvy and whatnot.  No, really, I do.  Especially the online banking thing – Please keep those cash infusions coming twice a month.

That way, I can beat you in Mafia Wars and Farmville.



Facebook and Twitter: One Helluva Party

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Social Media is like the party after prom where all the good stuff really happens.



Sometimes it’s a little confusing. Even a little dangerous. But, life on Facebook and Twitter can enhance your “IRL” experience.

Sure, while there is nothing quite like meeting in person, by keeping up with friends and family through Facebook and Twitter feeds, you can eliminate some of the B.S. smalltalk when you do get together – and more than that, you actually have some salient talking points to rally around.

From the flippant:

(“Oh, did you see Krystal from Palms Middle School is sporting a mullet?”)


(“Eamon’s new girlfriend looks like her face got caught in a wind tunnel.”)

To the life-changing:

(“I love all the pictures you posted of your new baby – He’s absolutely perfect!”)


(“I read the status about your mom’s passing. I’m so sorry. What can I do to help?”)

Not only that, but since everyone and their mother — literally — seem to be using Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, if you’re a company or a consumer brand, then these are great outlets to get your message across to clients and prospective clients.

For instance, Facebook has over 800 million users.

I’ll repeat that: Facebook has over 800 million users. That is one banging party, people.

But, if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, then does it make a sound?

Philosophy 101 was a long time ago, my friends, but I do know this: The more “likeable” your posts are, the more apt people are to share them on Facebook. In essence, if you put out great content, then your fans will do the work for you and your message will be heard.

According to Mashable, more than ever, now is a great time for companies and brands to open a Facebook page:

“When Facebook unveiled Timeline… many users were struck by the idea of humanizing your profile by summarizing your life and connections… Timeline may have a similar effect on brands as well. In fact, the brand benefits of Timeline could be huge, and will let companies tell a more engaging and authentic story.” (Mashable)

Yeah, of course traditional means of advertising are great, and should be used. Who doesn’t like a great billboard ad, or a catchy radio jingle? But at a fraction of the cost, companies and brands can engage with consumers (and potential consumers) through live updates, dynamic pictures, and relevant article and blog links.

In other words, your company or brand will seem more human when using this kind of digital media interface. And you sure don’t want to be left out of one helluva party.

From Cave Paintings to Wall Posts…

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“Be careful what you put in writing,” my mother warned  me once upon my teenage years.  “Because once it’s out there it’s out there. And that’s that.”

She said this before  we  all found ourselves careening down a cyber superhighway, racing pellmell toward online discoveries … A fantasy land where both exhibitionists and voyeurs feed off the others need for instant gratification.

“Once it’s out there it’s out there … ” These words echo in my mind while I log onto Facebook.

Paper may disintegrate but the Internet is forever.  (Forever-ever?  Forever-ever.) Our ancestors had cave paintings. And we have Walls.   Our forefathers and mothers wrote lengthy missives on leather parchment, and we have blog posts.  They had oil paintings.  We have Instagram. We have gleaned great insight into the world of the past through these artifacts, and  its hard not to wonder what our cyber leavings  will tell a future generation  about our civilization.

Oh dear.

Maybe it’s time to delete those photos from the party on Saturday night.

The Links We Love

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Happy Monday, Everyone!

We hope you had a peaceful, relaxing, and enjoyable weekend.

Now, go get your coffee on,  and check out these links.  We hope you find them as interesting as we did!

First of all, our client,, just started a new series on their blog called “My Life in Translation”

“How many of us have found ourselves visiting or even living in a country where we can barely speak the language?  Sure, while It’s an adventure to navigate new cultural terrain without being able to communicate the way you would ordinarily in your homeland, it is certainly not without its challenges.”

Every few days, Babylon will post a new sotry.  The first two posts are dynamic and engaging, and we hope you’ll check them out:
Babylon is also celebrating International Children’s Day (November 20th!) with a cool infographic featuring fascinating facts about children from around the globe.  For instance, did you know the earliest written version of the Cinderella story comes from China in 860 CE?  And here we thought we could blame shoe fetishes on Disney or the Brothers Grimm!
We also found some interesting videos that highlight creativity that we think are worth sharing:
And, we found some terrific articles about Social Media that we found interesting and relevant:
Finally, there were two clever videos about Facebook that made us laugh out loud.  Literally.  And hopefully you’ll like them, too:
Hopefully you’ve got your caffeine buzz on by now, and are enjoying your Monday!

Memories in a Digital World

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Four months ago I went through a life changing experience: My first daughter was born, and I fell immediately in-love with the little adorable baby that became an important part of our (now mostly sleepless) life.

From the moment she was born, my wife and I photograph and videotape her, using our iPhones, and our DSLR camera.

At the same time my parents aren’t getting younger. My father turned 72 this year, and my mother 66. On his 70th birthday, I made a short film about him, as an excuse to both hear and document the story of his life. We went through old photographs that were lying in our living room drawers, and with each picture came a story, about love, war, family, and friendship. Most of these pictures were older than me –from the 50s and 60s — telling the story of his life as an immigrant, young tank commander, husband, and young father.

Not surprisingly, I love gadgets, applications, and great sites. That’s why I upload my daughter’s pictures to Flickr and Facebook, and save all of them in our centralized media hub, and I also back it up using Dropbox. I use Twitter, Foursquare and to tell the story of my life – places I’ve been at, songs I’ve heard, thoughts I’ve had at a specific point in time.

Up until now, I was certain this is enough. We have all those cameras with their amazing images, those fancy video cameras, these smartphones that are actually point and shot cameras that can also call people. But something is missing:
When you look at it from an historical perspective, all these sites and gadgets lose their sex appeal. The reason is simple – in 40 years perspective, suddenly Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, hard disks and iPhones seem like not the best way to store memories.

I don’t know what will happen with Apple, Yahoo!, Twitter and Facebook 40 years from now.
I don’t know if the images I am taking now will be compatible with the technology 20 years from now.
I don’t know if my media center’s hard disk will survive the next 5 years.
And maybe, just maybe, Dropbox will go out of business.

There is a missing link in our digital age. There is a crucial element that is not guaranteed in our advanced technological environment. It is a simple thing: the physical element of our memories. The real life scrap book. The image, printed on a paper.

Yes, I know, these physical representation of our memories can be lost or destroyed. In fact, history teaches us that the physical element of our memories could be easily destroyed (such was the case of the Library of Alexandria).

However, if there is one thing that is for certain, it is that we will be able to see the pictures of our lives in the future. It is not a matter of file formats, web applications, and smartphones. Our eyes will still be able to see pictures. Our fingers will still be able to feel the aging paper they are printed on.

Think about it, next time you look at your hard disk full of those priceless images of your life.

Mourning the Death of a Smartphone

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Back in the day when I lived in LA, I was incredibly low-tech. I’d listen to mix tapes instead of  mp3s. I’d read books that required actual page turning. And my cellphone was much the way I expect to be 50 years from now–crotchety and decrepit.

So, when I’d see other people whip out their Smartphones to email or text or to find the nearest Starbucks because heaven forfend they drive four blocks in one direction when they could achieve caffeinated nirvana by only driving just two blocks in the other, I would roll my eyes.

Ok, Ok, I’ll admit it: I was secretly jealous. I envied Los Angelinos their gadgets, and I wanted my finger on the pulse of all that is hip, too. I thought grooving to an iPod would be sublime.  I thought downloading books onto a Kindle would be rad.  And above all,  I yearned for a Smartphone: I fantasized about being able to check email while sitting at Starbucks (Grande Vanilla latte and delusions of Grandeur for Sarah!) I wanted to download Angry Birds, and create personalized ringtones that would make me look edgy and cool (I was thinking a little Gangsta Rap would be nice.)

My Smartphone would be my magic portal, freeing this tired mama from her daze of dirty laundry, and sub-par cooking; a safe haven from power struggles with the kids–tantrums (theirs), meltdowns (mine), and way too much time spent in front of the TV (ours). Come what may – this phone would keep me sane, connected 24/7 to my real life.

My dream phone would make me feel young and au currant because in reality, my screen was scratched, paint chipped, powering down on a whim like a narcoleptic.

(And believe you me, my phone was even worse.)

So when my family moved to Israel last year, I had one condition: I wanted a smartphone. That way, I could be on Google Chat or Facebook all the time – constantly in touch with friends and family back home. I wanted quick and dirty email access so I could send pictures back home to Beeka and Bakah (my dad and his wife…) I wanted to download a kindle app so I could read books in English without having to expend energy —gasp— flipping pages. And let’s be real: I wanted to look all high-tech and whatnot, whipping out my sexy Smartphone and strutting around in high heel boots, way more “LA Woman” than I ever was back in LA.

Thus began my codependent relationship with Sammy the Smartphone. It was love at first sight: Within seconds of charging the battery and turning him on, I had changed his settings to English, and downloaded Tupac Shakur’s California Love for my ringtone. Whither I goest, he went – through the fields, to the coffee place, and beyond…Chatting, texting, always connected to my life back home.

And our relationship wasn’t all about looks and cool apps or the fact that he vibrated – although believe you me, Sammy had that going on. Because no matter how homesick in the Homeland I was, I had Sammy – and because I had my Sammy, I had Aimee, and Crystal, and Jeff, and Corey, and David, and Alex, and Elana, and Michelle, and Chris, and Beeka and Bakah, and so many others that live on the other side of the world, with me every second.

Until the day Sammy drowned. In the toilet. Because there is no app to get rid of my inherent clumsiness and pathological case of mama brain.

I tried everything to bring Sammy back to life. I opened him up, and took out his battery, simcard, and SD card. (He felt so light lying there in the palm of my hand, just an empty shell.) Then, I placed him lovingly in a bag full of rice because I had read somewhere that this can sometimes save a drowned cellphone. It didn’t. And I shook my fists and screamed to the heavens…“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” (Because the first stage of grief is denial.)

My husband rolled his eyes. “Don’t be such a baby. It’s just a cellphone.”

And on to the second stage of grief: Anger.

I hurled Sammy’s corpse at my husband. I shouted. I cursed. And I cried hysterically, while my husband looked around for the nearest escape route. (Seriously. In that moment, I done Mel Gibson proud.)

And while I know in hindsight that I may have (just a little bit) overreacted, the thing is, it wasn’t “just a cellphone.” Sammy was my lifeline–my fast-track to LA from like, a million light years away. And as I try to figure out my place here in Israel –in a home where my daughter straight up refuses to speak English (I swear, it’s like she does this on purpose to upset me), in conversations where I wonder W.T.F. is happening, like all the time when my husband is talking to his mom, or the preschool teacher, or the doctor about something related to our kids in Hebrew, where I am perpetually lost in a heavy fog as I try to figure out a strange word in the middle of a joke, while everyone else is laughing at the punchline.

(At least Sammy had a Hebrew/English translation app. May he be of blessed memory.)


This post originally appeared here on

5 tips on how to prepare your brand for the new Facebook Timeline

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Facebook’s biggest change so far – The Timeline – was announced last month, but it still hasn’t reached the masses. Nevertheless, as many speculate as to when the public launch will happen, some eager users couldn’t wait and have already enabled the new profile for their accounts. ( Want to do the same? Learn how to do it here.)  And while everyone is talking about how these changes will affect users, many companies wonder: How will all of this affect our brand(s)?

Since Facebook has yet to announce how branded Fan Pages will look in the new format, we don’t have all the answers.  (Yet!)  Still, we can definitely help you understand how you can get your brand ready for these changes with 5 simple tips:


1. We don’t like “Like” anymore

Ok, you may want to sit down for this part.  (And if you’re already sitting, then take a deep, cleansing breath):  Yes, it’s true.  The magic word everyone pursued since the “Like” button was created in April, 2010 is about to go out of fashion.  See, when you have “Timelines” with people’s stories, what they “Facebook-Liked” along the way becomes a minor detail and loses its relevancy. At first you will also notice a drop in your numbers, like less visitors and less interactions.

The only advice we can give right now is to wait. (Or hyperventilate into a paper bag if absolutely necessary.)  Seriously though,  Facebook is not stupid – we hope – and we are sure that they have a trick up their sleeve to fix this issue for Facebook Ads payers.


2. Don’t be a brand, be part of people’s lives

With the reign of “Like” down, brands will have to think about ways of belonging in people’s lives. In other words, in order to be seen in  the Facebook timeline, the user will have to want your brand there. So the old concept of wooing your target audience instead of shoving your message down their throats is becoming more relevant than ever.

Companies will have to provide value, to engage users, and to have them as brand ambassadors if they want to enjoy their place in the (virtual) sun. Our advice? Stop for a second and think about what your brand really does to engage people. Is it enough? Or should you try harder?  Here’s another idea:  Ask your Facebook users what they think!


3. Get creative

From the new profile format we can speculate as to how the new fan pages will look. We think these changes are going to be awesome.Take a look at the profile pages — what do you see? The option for much more customization, starting with the big image in the header.   If we are right and the fan pages have the same possibilities, you should be totally cheering right now. Want clear examples? Check out some mock ups of how the new branded pages could look.

We think you’ll be inspired.


4. Tell Stories

The Timeline creates a record of our life on Facebook.  In other words, the strongest concept behind the Timeline is the way it shares our life stories.  As we said before, brands will have to think about ways of getting inside these personal stories, becoming at the end of the day,  storytellers. Literally. Look, if you want to be relevant to your audience, your company will need a strong story to tell,   and the key question to ask yourself is this: How can your brand make consumer’s lives more interesting?


5. Relax!  Everything will be fine

We get it: Change can be scary. Our minds get used to things working in a specific way, and when they change we must re-learn how to deal with them. But that’s the great thing about being human: We adapt.  Remember when Facebook changed the homepage and everyone freaked out?  And now, most of us can barely remember what the old profile page even looked like! With Facebook’s Timeline it’s the same. It might seem like too much of a change, to hard to understand, to unclear as to how the new functions will work.

Eventually, things will get easier.  And you may even prefer the changes!  And here’s our final tip: Relax, drink your coffee or tea or whatever, and save your white hairs for more serious issues. Because at the end of the day, if you really get stuck, we are here to help your brand stand out in the Digital world.