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  1. February’s Gamer Girl

    February 20, 2013 by Teri London

    February has been an exciting month for my gaming life. Not only did the wonderful PS3Blog.Net name their Gamer Girl of the Month for February 2013 but I have been accepted to FutureRetroGamer.Com as a gaming blogger as well! I can’t wait to get started and really churn out some quality blog content about video games – my true passion.

    In other gaming news, I was able to spend all of last weekend playing Dragonborn, which was a rare, magical treat. Two solid days of nothing but gaming. Absolute bliss. I’m a really big fan of this round of Elder Scrolls DLC, it feels like they learn a lot from everything they have done. The Black Books are basically new Oblivion gates – once they learned a thing or two about what sucked about Oblivion gates and applied those lessons here. The layout was such a clear throw back to those terrifying red gates into Hell, right down to the mana fountains, and it made me feel positively giddy going through them. I still have a book or two left. I want to go to there. I should finish it up, elaborate on these thoughts and call it an official review, mayhaps….

    I also leveled up to Legend One on Max Payne 3. It’s been a very rewarding month.

    Support a gamer girl and check out my Gamer Girl of the Month article for PS3Blog.Net!  Thanks and love!

     

     


  2. New Year, New Life

    January 16, 2013 by Teri London

    Now that it’s clear the world is not, in fact, ending as some of us had been led to believe, it seems that everyone is ready & motivated to make sure 2013 is their best year yet – and I am no exception. With his New Year I have yet another new coat of hair dye and a positive outlook on the year to come – thirteen IS a lucky number, after all.

    Red again <3

    Red again <3

    I am currently in the middle of re-working some things about this website, and branching out to include my writing about not only social media, but video games, nerd culture, and perhaps even feminism; to more intimately share my independent, boundary-breaking, fiery femme spirit with the world. This year I want to travel more, write more, game more, and work even harder than I already do.

    All websites should always be a work in progress.

    All people should always be a work in progress.

    How are you going to better yourself and your life in 2013?

     


  3. Spooky Spectacular Social Media – The Brilliance of The Blair Witch

    October 24, 2012 by Teri London

    Spooky Spectacular Social Media – The Brilliance of The Blair Witch

    How The Blair Witch Project pioneered Internet marketing and storytelling techniques still valuable to this day.

    Yeah…this is totally normal. Not spooky at all.

    ’Tis my favorite time of year, the Halloween season! The spooks and thrills, taking the time to really appreciate the flavorful fun of fear …

    Every year I celebrate with a series of scary movies all throughout the month, and this year seemed to have a theme. After a week of plowing through the Paranormal Activity series, I was struck with a desire to revisit the classic that first inspired them, one of my favorites to this day: The Blair Witch Project.

    Just before the Halloween season of 1999, The Blair Witch Project shattered box office records using only a shoestring budget and a brilliantly executed Internet marketing campaign.  At the time, I was a thirteen-year-old goth kid in Cleveland who spent essentially all of her free time on the Internet.  What seem like normal Internet surfing habits for us today was a sort of weird and antisocial hobby back then, on par with teaching myself code, finding underground communities to engage with, and researching subjects like mythology, Star Wars, and crop circles. So naturally, when word got out that there was potentially some “lost footage” and a documentary about what could totally be a real witch in the woods somewhere, my geeky ‘net friends and I were all over it.

    We managed to figure out, long before most of the world did, that it was, in fact, a hoax. However, I didn’t feel gypped, on the contrary, I felt impressed. These guys had gone the extra mile to create a three-dimensional experience for me that spawned an entire world and mythos. It rocked, and I paid my allowance money to see the movie twice.

    Recently it dawned on me that The Blair Witch Project was one of my first examples of a brilliant and successful viral marketing campaign, and that even as a nerdy and somewhat socially awkward kid, I was fascinated by the power of people and the Internet, and their combined ability to help tell an incredible story.

    And now, thirteen years later, with a career in social media fueled by the passion that began in my youth, I thought that it would be an interesting exercise to look at some of what made The Blair Witch Project  - not only a raging success in the marketing world – but focus on how it left a lasting impression that influenced a whole new generation of storytelling.

    5 lessons Social Media Marketing learned from The Blair Witch Project


    1) One dark and stormy night…
    Setting is everything. Create an engaging world, rich with detail.

    The 1999 version of The Blair Witch Project website was as intricate and interactive as current technology would allow. You could read “actual journals” from the three student filmmakers, browse news articles from the supposedly haunted town and seemingly legal police documents detailing the case. Forums and chat rooms were set up to allow visitors to discuss their theories. The Blair Witch campaign was very much the grandfather of our genius marketing campaigns that spawned entire worlds of today – such as LOST, with it’s interactive DHARMA stations and webisodes – another fine example of creating a profoundly complex world and mythology, and using smart social media to get it’s audiences hooked on it.

    The story begins.


    2)  It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.
    Start your campaign plans long ahead of time.

    The rumors of the “Blair Witch” began to surface on the internet months before the movie dropped that July. They knew that the process was a long and involved one – you have to plant little seedlings everywhere, and nurture them carefully. Tend to them daily and they will grow into the kind of big beautiful plants that garner $248M in the theaters, surprising everyone who wasn’t hip to the Internet yet.  With time, Blair Witch went positively viral and before you could say “I’m so scared….” everyone had heard about it and was dying to see the phenomenon for themselves.

    Just as your social media campaigning should start early, the planning should start even earlier. Have all of the phases for your campaign completed before you even begin. Team Blair Witch Project clearly had every piece of the strategy mapped out from the word go, and so should you! Create plans for marketing strategies with a beginning, a middle, and an end and make clear-cut branding decisions. Determine new tactics and strategies for each phase of the campaign. The only people who should be surprised by your next move is your audience.


    3)  We all go a little mad sometimes…
    Start thinking outside of the box.

    One of the key factors of the success of the Blair Witch campaign was its uniqueness. Nobody had really ever done anything quite like that before, either in the cinema world or the cyber world, and that contributed to a lack of defined “rules”. They cast nobodies, used their real names for authenticity, and made them hide from the public eye for the duration of the campaign to ensure it’s success. They essentially made up a huge lie and decided to try to trick the world into believing it, while running the risk that should it fail, they would be hated by everyone. Nobody knew if it was real or a hoax – all they knew was that they had to see it for themselves. People are always chomping at the bit for something new, which is part of what made TBWP so very enticing. It was something original among a swath of gray.

    They say that nothing is original anymore, but even things that have been already done still have angles and facets just waiting to be discovered. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and take risks with your campaigns. You may fail at first, but at least you can be on the path to figuring out the perfect formula for you and your brand.

    Is it real or a hoax? We must know more.

    4) What the f*ck is that?!
    Sometimes, less is more.

    Often times in horror movies these days, we see the guts and gore splashed across the screen with such frequent vigor that we don’t even have the time to stop and be truly terrified. The Blair Witch Project built up to its climax with very slow, intentional beats that made a lasting impact. By the time you reach the final showdown, you don’t even realize how much faster your heart is racing and how much more engaged with the story and its characters you truly are. It sets the mood and leaves your imagination to fill in the blanks, delivering effective, psychological terror.

    What you don’t see CAN hurt you.

    Social media works along the same metaphor. You don’t want to get in someone’s face and yell at them about the message you are trying to send. You need to build up your relationship with them, have a couple of well-timed interactions, and then when the time is right, you go in for the kill.


    5) We should split up…. right?
    Wrong. Have a clear focus, and stick to it.

    The Blair Witch Project had a very clear vision and execution plan from the beginning.  Both movie and marketing campaign worked hand in hand to create the atmosphere needed to launch TBWP into its success. Your branding should be the same: clear and concise, with everyone in all departments on the same page, at all times.

    When a brand uses this strategy effectively, and has all branches running like clockwork, you can literally see the success – as evidenced by The Blair Witch Project.  However, when you have a lack of focus or direction, and miscommunications on how to market a product, you end up with the abomination that is Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. Someone tried to take a once-great idea and deliver a sloppy sequel – and nobody was fooled. An abysmal film and a complete flop; if you’re lucky, you haven’t even heard of it. Ten years later, Paranormal Activity followed the formula for TBWP success and catapulted its own unique low budget project to cult fame via social media, becoming the most profitable film of all time and inventing it’s own world filled with lore. Clearly PA learned the lesson of needing precise focus, as they managed to maintain their consistency throughout the campaigns for their much more successful sequels.

    Don’t go off on your own. Stick to the plan set up in the earlier marketing days and ensure that communication is crystal clear across the board.

    This is what happens when you split up.

    While these lessons work particularly well with horror movie audiences, whose appetites crave continuous thrills and chills that are fresh, new and exciting, these are valuable lessons that should be taken into consideration when designing any marketing campaigns today.

    “OK, here’s your motivation. You’re lost, you’re angry in the woods, and no one is here to help you. There’s a witch and she keeps leaving sh*t outside your door. There’s no one here to help you! She left little trinkets, you took one of them, she ran after us. There’s no one here to help you! We walked for 15 hours today, we ended up in the same place! There’s no one here to help you, THAT’S your motivation! THAT’S YOUR MOTIVATION!” – Joshua Leonard, The Blair Witch Project

    Halloween is the time of year to take risks and push people past their comfort zones. Find your motivation, test some limits and really get creative this season. Have fun and stay scared!

    For more of my thoughts, you can follow me on Twitter: @teripanda <3

     


  4. My exclusive interview with William Shatner – “It’s his world, we just live in it”

    October 16, 2012 by Teri London

    I am proud to present my interview with the fascinating and compassionate legend himself, William Shatner, on behalf of my client Shalom Life. The Captain of the USS Enterprise took time out of his day to chat with me about his upcoming one-man show, Shatner’s World, his love of horses, philanthropy work and motivation to keep taking on new projects.

    Read the interview here.

    Thanks so much, hope you enjoy my conversation with Mr. Shatner as much as I did – nerd dreams really do come true!


  5. The Beginning of a Beautiful Thing

    March 15, 2012 by Teri London

    Life has been such a whirlwind lately. Between getting my new social media company Social Graces up and running, working diligently on the marketing campaigns for my clients and falling in love with Pinterest I have just been so busy I’ve barely even had time to play Skyrim on my brand new slim XBox 360 (a reward for all of my hard work as of late), let alone come here to blog about my social and gaming passions.

    This Monday, March 19th I will be hosting and teaching my very first Social Media workshop with my brilliant and dedicated associate DeAnna DuPree. I am so unbelievably nervous/excited (someone once pointed out to me that these feelings are essentially the same thing) about bringing the knowledge I hold so dear to a room full of people ready and eager to learn. Plus, this is just the beginning – we’ve got workshops and Tweet-Ups lined up through May!

    Join me at the first ever Social Graces Live Event, sponsored by Microsoft this Monday March 19th in Santa Monica, CA -

    Content Marketing 101: Building Your Business With Content & Social Media

    We all know that content rules the Internet, and I will be sharing secrets of the social media trade all about finding the most unique content, sharing it properly with your audience and using it to engage and communicate with your consumers, develop brand loyalty and most importantly, increase sales. The politics of social media are intricate and intense, it has taken me years to truly grasp them the way that I do and I just cannot wait to bring my finds to my audience.

    Hope you will join me at the event, and even more importantly I hope that I’ll have some breathing room soon to write more blogs and share some of my trade secrets with you!

    In the meantime, I invite you to join Social Graces across the social web:


  6. Security in a Social World

    January 24, 2012 by Teri London

    Security in a Social World

    As the Internet and social media have evolved into an undeniable force (as demonstrated by the recent SOPA and PIPA protests) the issue of security in the online world has become imperative. You pay bills online, your emails arrive in the palm of your hand via your mobile phone or tablet device, and everything is conveniently connected.

    It’s crucial for all parties that use the Internet in any way (which is just about everybody these days) to remain up-to-date about security: especially businesses and legal entities, the next generation of fully immersed teenagers, individuals who enjoy social media but are concerned with privacy, and older generations who are eager to connect, but aren’t quite as computer savvy.

    As social media itself is in its infancy, there are still limited resources available to assist with many customer service issues. For example, Facebook has virtually no customer service assistance whatsoever. Unless you know someone who works there, you are basically on your own. This had always been my own suspicion, and has since been confirmed for me by Facebook representative Mark Walrupp during a panel at Social Media Week LA last September.

    In my years studying the Internet and social media, I have built a solid foundation for online security that I apply to both my own personal accounts as well as with my clients. Since I feel this is an issue that rightfully demands attention, I’d like to share my findings with you.

    PROPER PASSWORDING

    Choose hardcore passwords. By hardcore, I mean: use multiple words, random capital letters, and numbers that don’t correspond to your personal life (no addresses or birth dates). When you choose a security question, use the most obscure thing you can think of that you’d still remember the answer to. Sometimes it’s simply having too soft a password that leaves you open for hacking, so make sure yours is something they will never guess. Some examples of phenomenal passwords could include:

    papeRClipFactory4671
    244yuMMylaDybugs
    iCaNhaZpw0493

    Have different hardcore passwords for your various accounts. I recommend choosing 3 and rotating them between the accounts, so you can retain variety without it getting too confusing. Make sure you also change these hardcore passwords every few months. This is crucial; don’t get complacent!

    FACEBOOK PRIVACY

    Go through your Facebook privacy settings with a fine-toothed comb. These settings work better than most people think, and are actually quite customizable. With the new Timeline feature/layout, you can go through each and every single post you’ve made and choose its privacy level. Watch content where you reveal personal information, and make sure it isn’t being shared with the wrong people or companies. Don’t assume that Facebook, or any social media site, has your best interests at heart. All of Facebook’s safety policies are online, and are often overlooked completely. I’d definitely recommend you read up.

    THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK

    It should go without saying that you should avoid clicking links that appear spammy in nature, but hacking these days has become much more sophisticated than that. People you know will appear on your network with a message such as, “Somebody said this real bad thing about you in a blog…[link]” or “You won’t believe this story! [link]”. These appear to come from people you know and trust, and it might not even occur to you that they’ve been hacked until it’s too late. If you see messages like these, check with your trusted friend to ensure that the link came from them. Any suspicious link from someone you know should be cleared through a text, or a medium separate from the one on which you received the suspect message. Simply clicking the wrong link can get your account hacked in mere minutes, including any information connected to the account that did the clicking.

    REPORT IT

    Report known spam. Don’t depend on others to do the job for you. Often people think, “This is obviously spam!” and do nothing more than delete or ignore it, assuming it’s already been reported. Remain vigilant! The more often it’s reported, the more able the network will be to adapt to how it spreads, and the more effectively they will be able to shut it down.

    BE SMART

    Don’t give out your personal information to strangers. No website will ever ask for your personal information via email, and be wary of what entities you give that email to. Continuing with basic precautions, always make sure you are logged out after using a public computer. Never leave your laptop, smart phone, or tablet unattended and be sure to password protect your portable devices. Be wary of strangers or acquaintances asking to borrow these items. Always use a separate email address for your bills and finances than you do for your social media accounts. Social media accounts get connected all over the web, and you don’t want that mixed up with accounts that also hold valuable personal information, like your bank account or credit card numbers. Similarly, if you use location based check-ins and posts, limit them to a smaller audience of people you know and trust.

    BECOME FRIENDS WITH A HACKER

    I’m not kidding, hackers are some of the most dangerous and useful people in our modern world. While the term “hacker” might conjure up a negative image, these extremely technologically savvy people are worth their weight in gold. Get to know one. Take him or her out to dinner. Help them move, laugh at their jokes, and be a genuine pal, because hackers can solve most technological mishaps faster than we can even figure out they happened in the first place. Since they are frequently the sources of security breaches, a hacker can help protect your vulnerable areas before you even start having problems. Having one in your corner will most assuredly help protect you online.


    Buy them presents.

    TIPS FOR PARENTS

    Parental controls do exist for most sites and should be utilized. However, the most important thing you can do to help keep your children safe online is educate them on proper online safety precautions. These days, chances are good that your kids type faster, Google quicker, and are just better at the Internet than you. They could easily find ways around parental controls (just like I did when I was their age). Kids are liable to be interested in anything you want to keep them away from. If you speak openly and honestly about the dangers online, and help work with your children to keep them safe (rather than attempting to pen them into a safety zone) I have no doubt that they will take Internet security seriously.

    TIPS FOR BUSINESSES

    Be organized. Center your social media campaign around a newly created Gmail address, and tie this address to your social networks. Keep any accounts that deal with credit cards or company finances away from these accounts. If you need funds for ad campaigns online, I recommend creating a new bank account with the sole purpose of funding these costs to keep it completely separate. Also, make sure to limit the number of people who have access to your email accounts, social network profiles, and content posting. As the saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. The fewer people who have access to the information, the smaller the chance of not only a security breach, but of the wrong information being “accidentally” shared publicly. Educate your team on proper online safety precautions. Teach everyone to be smart, even when the “right choice” should seem obvious. Oh, and hire a social media professional to keep things running smoothly – a professional such as myself. ;)

    I hope all of these tips leave you feeling more secure about your online information. The Internet can be a dangerous beast, but if you play it smart and use the right tools, you should be just fine. Feel free to share any of your security tips with me as well, and stay safe out there on the web!

    Thank you to my editors Maggie Dempsey and Josh Tilton, as well as my partner-in-crime Brandon Hale.
    Photo credits: Passwords It’s A Trap Constant Vigilance BFF Necklace


  7. Live!

    November 9, 2011 by Teri London

    Welcome, officially, to my corner of the net. My blog, my resume, my intimate connection to our social stratosphere. Here I will share with you my thoughts and studies on social media, online marketing, the mindset of the Internet consumer, nerd culture, and whatever else comes to mind that might be of use to this world.

    While know this site will always be a work in progress (as every good website should be) I finally feel ready enough to unveil to the public and get things started.  So here we are, live, and ready for blogging action.

    Between Google+ pages for brands, new Twitter features, and the social explosion that comes hand in hand with the biggest holiday gaming season I’ve ever seen, I’m sure to have plenty to write about in the upcoming weeks.

    Feel free to pull up a chair, introduce yourself, and stay awhile :)


  8. #OurWorkIsNeverOver

    October 21, 2011 by Teri London

    I’m in the middle of one of those 15 hour workdays, sitting in front of the laptop and pausing only for meals. While watching an original Star Wars marathon of course – it centers me, keeps me productive.

    The site is coming along beautifully, I can tell we’re almost ready to fully launch! I can’t wait to really get started and begin blogging about one of my great passions in life – social media. I’ll probably throw in some nerd stuff too, I just can’t help myself.

    Anyway, I should probably return to the back end and get these kinks ironed out. Check back soon for updates!

    Alltheloveintheworld,
    Teri