Category Archives: social media

Vail Resorts seeks to bypass Foursquare & Gowalla

Drop Your Knee Not Bombs!

Powder day at Vail. Photo credit: Flickr, zachd1_618

Vail Resorts has begun beta testing a new location-based social network for skiers and boarders at Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek in Colorado and Heavenly in California. Dubbed Epic Mix, the system relies on the existing bar code scanners the lift operators use to scan your lift ticket before you board the chair lift.

I found out about it when a friend skiing at Vail this week posted an update on his Facebook page. (Apparently I missed Vail Resorts’ August news conference in New York announcing Epic Mix. I mean, it was in August. Who holds a news conference in August?)

This video explains:

At any rate, the idea is pretty simple. If you have an Epic pass, which is a plastic ID photo with an RF identification chip embedded inside, you can join the network.  Continue reading

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A Picture’s Worth a 1,000 Clicks

For such a small camera, the Canon S90 packs a punch.

The camera never blinks.

This year I rediscovered my love for taking pictures and I have a cell phone to thank.

While the New York Times reported last week that people are increasingly leaving their point-and-shoots at home in favor for their cell phones, the HTC EVO 4G inspired me to purchase a Canon S90 point-and-shoot. I often take both with me when I leave home.

Continue reading

Put your turkey and your PR in the oven ahead of the holiday

Photo showing some of the aspects of a traditi...

Image via Wikipedia

The secret to hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your home is doing all the planning and preparations you can ahead of time. My mom, for example, sets the table the night before. The weekend before, she makes (and freezes) some of our favorite side dishes.  This makes the holiday a little less stressful.

For reporters and bloggers preparations for the holidays is no different. Most writers I work with end up filing stories in advance of taking off, so if you want to get some news coverage during the holidays, do your pitching now and make it easy. Continue reading

When your customers thank you, are you listening?

Amtrak Acela Powercar 2016 speeds through Old ...

Amtrak's Acela is the easiest way to get to New York. Image via Wikipedia

My co-worker Rich Pesce has an interesting story about why it’s important to let your customers thank you.

If you know Rich, you know he loves his iPod and losing it on a recent trip to New York on Amtrak’s Acela was not a good way to start a business trip.

But it turns out the iPod wasn’t lost for long.

A thoughtful train conductor named George Link spotted the lonely iPod in a seat and matched it to Rich because of the ticket receipt Rich had left behind.

Though the ticket receipt didn’t have Rich’s telephone number, it did have his Amtrak frequent traveler number. With some detective work, Link was able to figure out Rich’s number and leave a message that the iPod had been found. It was waiting for Rich in Lost and Found at Penn Station the next day.

By any measure, Link and Amtrak deserved a thank you and Rich offered that via Twitter:

But sadly, did Amtrak tweet back? Nope. Amtrak missed the chance to connect with a happy customer who was thrilled with their service and the extra mile their employee had gone.

So often, customers use the Internet to complain about their customer experience. (I’ve certainly done that as a customer and I do my part in responding to Sprint’s unhappy customers who vent on the Net when Sprint lets them down.)

But what about when your customer just wants to say thank you? Shouldn’t your social media team be there to say, “You’re welcome”? Isn’t that a great way to cement customer loyalty?

I’m hoping that someone in Amtrak’s office will see this blog post and share it with George Link and his team on Acela. Even better, maybe someone from Amtrak will leave a comment below offering to do just that.

I know this much. On my next Acela ride to New York, I’m going to ask the conductor if he knows George Link.

When Foursquare and Twitter are at their best

Image representing Foursquare Solutions as dep...

Image via CrunchBase

On my way back from a business trip to Texas earlier this month, I had a layover in Charlotte. When I checked in on Foursquare, I saw that my Twitter friend Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder) was in the airport, too. I tweeted him a direct message and it turns out he was at the restaurant next door. We ended up connecting in person and having a great conversation about his work, brands, blogging and the like. What was really fun is that we discovered we went to the same college and studied under many of the same professors, though I had graduated before Olivier had enrolled.

Olivier and I had never met in person before.

That’s what I love about social networks — when they connect me in person with people I would never have met. Participating otherwise doesn’t hold much value for me, except for those Gowalla badges. (Just who is their graphic designer, anyway?)

Fast Company Asks: Who’s the Most Influential Person Online?

Clearly, I'm not the most influential person online, but who is?

Fast Company’s cover story for its November 2010 issue ought to be interesting.

The magazine has launched a search to discover the most influential person online. Dubbed the Influence Project, the magazine is capturing the social graphs of readers who enter a short bio and upload a photo. Whoever influences the most people to join the experiment is deemed the most influential. (Oh and the more influential you are, the bigger your photo gets on Fast Company’s Influence Project site. And your photo could be included in a cover illustration.) Continue reading

AT&T Gets a Fake Twitter Feed

Well it appears the fake BP Twitter phenomenon has inspired a fake AT&T PR Twitter feed. Because I watch competitors closely, I spotted this one shortly after it started. Among my favorite fake tweets so far:

But don’t expect this parody account to take off like the BP one. Remember, we’re talking about a cell phone company, not a company whose negligence has devastated an eco-system and put tens of thousands of people out of work.

Plus, the Fake AT&T guy isn’t as funny as BP, or for that matter, the fake Steve Jobs.