LR9: Social Media

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Cell PhoneFor a guy almost in his mid-forties, I consider myself to be fairly computer and internet savvy. I’ve always been an early adopter of technology. I was one of the first users of yahoo, converted to Apple in the 90’s, had a cell phone as big as a briefcase (and a monthly bill that was just as large), and even left my career in 2000 to launch my own Internet startup (think Facebook meets Match meets Yelp, which was ready for launch just as the Internet bubble popped).

TwitterI have pages on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and so many others that have either disappeared or faded into obscurity. The reason I do all this is that I have an insatiable curiousity. I want to experience everything for myself and most of all, I have a deep seeded desire to understand people. That curiosity about the way people (I) think and why they (I) do what they (I) do is so powerful for me. Behavior, including my own, but especially that of the herd, fascinates me. One look at my reading list will serve as testament to that statement.

While my interest in social media began as mere curiosity, it has turned a corner. I’ve gotten a taste of its power as a result of the yarn bomb. I’ve been writing a blog about my resolutions since 2007 but until the yarn bomb, noone ever read them. It never bothered me though, because the point in the blog was really just to keep a formal record, a diary of sorts, of my journey, and a blog is the perfect tool for that.

Then I began blogging on WordPress, which provides tools for analyzing traffic, seeing where people click, where they come from, what search terms they use to find you, etc. It’s all anonymous of course, so don’t worry, I’m not watching you in particular, just the flow of visitors. It peaked my curiousity. I began to wonder, how could I alter that flow with better content, better organization, use of relevant tags and categories, linking Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media tools together to drive traffic, etc. I have no expertise, don’t know anyone with expertise and have no interest in reading books on the topic, but I do love me an iterative process. So I got the bug.

Enter the League of Professional Educators. The LPE is, at its core, an idea that was developed for maximum leverage, so that one man, with limited resources could effect systemic change. It is a grass roots based idea, that will require me to connect with an audience that will itself take the ball and run with it. Yeah, I know, every business has a plan to “go viral”. I don’t know if I can pull it off, but this resolution is simply about learning how social media is used to “amplify” a message and drive traffic, so that I can do some good in this world.

I’ll be posting what I have learned and will learn along the way so that others may benefit from my successes and failures. As always, I’ll keep it short and to the point.

LR 9: Social Media Posts

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LR4: Yarn Bomb Epiblogue

TextIt’s been a few weeks since the yarn bomb was packed and shipped off to Warm Up America, but it continues to live on in the hearts and minds of those who witnessed it for themselves. This weekend, Will Wallin, who participated in every aspect of the installation, including mapping the tree, ladder lugging and tear-down, went for a hike to the tree. Along the way, a couple stopped him to tell him about this magical yarn bomb he missed, just weeks earlier. When he informed them that he’d been a part of its installation, the woman surprised him with an impromptu hug and they both thanked him for it.

Yarn Bomb in the Independent

 

Just yesterday, the Santa Barbara Independent included a blurb about it in their print edition, almost a month after it went up. I’ve received lots of pics via email from people who visited it and found many more that have been going viral thanks to being pinned and repinned on Pinterest, posted on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and more.

Between all that and WordPress featuring the LR1: Unicycling post on FreshlyPressed, traffic to 12for2012.com exploded.

 

12for2012I received lots of nice notes via email, most of which came with pics attached, but here are two notes I especially liked reading:

From Sharon… “I am the older Japanese woman you ran into on the trail yesterday (Friday). I was walking down, only having made it to the fire road on my hike to the yarn tree. I didn’t know you were the creator when we briefly spoke. I would have told you that I have been percolating a guerrilla knitting project for a couple years now. I wanted to touch your yarn tree and be there in person. Alas, I don’t think I’ll be able to make it before it disappears. I just want to thank you for your creative spirit, your energy, and your determination to make it happen. The group of kids who were coming down after me were still excited about it as they ran down the hill. (color me and my hiking poles jealous). You’ve done a beautiful thing, along with hundreds of knitting and crocheting fingers across the land and sea. I am happy knowing it is now and sad it won’t be after Sunday. Thank you.”

From a woman named Barbara… “Yesterday, two friends (Carol and Simone), my husband and I hiked up Cold Spring Trail to see your Yarn Bombed Tree. What an experience! I did take some photos which I will share later. I just had to initiate this communication. Your tree and your year of goals is amazing. Thank you for your inspiration, Barbara”

Here are some of the pics I received via email:

Wilderness Youth Project

Thanks for the reason to get up the hill. Wilderness Youth Project had a blast 6/15/12.
Andrew Lindsey (click on the photo for the Wilderness Youth Project’s website)

Galina Brouwer

Yes, we made it up there…grueling, as you described. Just when we thought we were there, the hardest uphill climb was yet to come. We made it back in the pitch dark. Thank God for flashlights.
It was just glorious seeing this work of art. We thank everyone involved.
P.S. The photo shows an “orb”…..My friend swears it’s a spirit of sorts.
Peace, Galina

Shaun Beardsmore

Did a trail run up to the tree this week and snagged a cool shot as the sun set, awesome work. I recently starting making beanies so I’ve been working with Yarn a lot too. Great to see creative projects like this around town and beyond. (Visit Shaun’s website thewavesofnature.com for some more cool pics of the bomb)

Alek and Tyler

Heres a photo, theres more on my camera I’ll edit tonight. If u credit me, can u use my website notestomom on tumblr? My mom was killed by a drunk driver last May and I use the site to write to her and raise funds on behalf of her memory for MADD. We’re close to $3000.
It was nice to meet you today. My stepbrother Alek and I were so inspired by your ideas.
Take care,
Tyler (click on the photo to go to Tyler’s Tumblr tribute to her mother)

Jonah Blossom and Amanda Grandfield

Great to run into you on the trail today! I’ve attached some pictures to this email of the yarn tree from today 6/16/12
Thanks again for making this happen– it was such a delight to visit the tree.
Best, Amanda

Amanda Grandfield

Amanda Grandfield took some photos and offered them for sale at her booth along East Beach the following week. (She gave me this one for free!)

John Wiley

FYI we flew past today, snapped more aerials. Thanks again for the fun you’ve brought to our whole community with all your work on this. 🙂
ciao -j (John Wiley)

Pamela and Craig Penner

Steve, thanks for your creativity. Pamela and Craig

Amanda Bailey

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is inspiring and refreshing to hear. I had a little fun with ColorSplash on the last one. Good luck on your future endeavors. Take care!

We met you on the trail, thanking you for doing this community art. We soooo appreciate the hard work, and enjoyed it tree-mendously!
Thanks again,
Karen and Rick Heimberg

This one was posted on the Multi-Use Trails Coalition’s website (click on the pic to see more there)

Then I discovered pictures posted, pinned, repined and stories being told about the yarn bomb all over the Internet…

A selection of some of the places I found pics, postings and conversations about the yarn bomb:

crochetconcupiscence.com

Imgur

Reddit

EdHat submission by Aquaholic (Fantastic pics!)

Jenn Kennedy wrote about it and posted this video too

CrowdKnitting

Pinterest

Stitches and Purls

Wattlebird

Babukatorium

Elastic Camel Space

Twitter

Alex Moore

365 ThingsJackieMackie