Growing up in the Detroit area wasn’t glamorous. I’m from the wrong side of 8 mile, and I am white, I am a fucking bum, but I have never lived in a trailer (although I have spent a couple vacation nights in them). And I’ve been to St. Andrews Hall, Clutch Cargos, and House of Beer parties.

Sorry mom and dad if you’re reading this, but I bet you aren’t that surprised. My first concert was Kid Rock before he was on MTV, I learned how to drive in various Ford vehicles, and I love me some Faygo Rock N Rye. That said, I had it pretty damn good compared to most people from the D.

Detroit VS. Everybody.

It’s almost a cliche or a standard trope at this point. Being from somewhere like Detroit – or Cleveland, or Gary, or anywhere else Rust Belt-ish and suitably depressing is pretty cool now. But only if you live in a better place now – New York, Chicago, San Francisco, L.A., Austin, Boston, etc.

America loves itself an underdog, but at what cost? Even most of Detroit’s most famous “alumni” have left the city. If you can, you get the hell out. But you still rep the D once you leave – and perhaps even more so if you’ve gotten out. It’s an compelling form of social currency, and perhaps what’s more important and more interesting is the sense of bravado that it lends you.

So question for the readers – how did where you grew up influence you later?

*Post sparked by the new Eminem release and the fact that many of us will be returning to our hometowns for Thanksgiving.

**More writing on Detroit to come.

Sunday Evening Coming Down

November 23, 2014

Sunday evenings are simultaneously my favorite and least favorite time of the week. It is at once the perfect quiet time to write and draw, but also the beginning of a new week – which at this time of the year, means hectic hours and all sorts of crazy as the holiday gifting season (damn I hate that phrase and the concept itself) is in full swing.

Working in tech and ecommerce, you never really have time off. But those hours on a late Sunday night seem sacred – the phone doesn’t ring, you can turn off your email without guilt, and focus on being creative on your own terms.

So that’s enough about me. What is your favorite time of the week?

Because I thought it was fitting to re-launch my blog with a shorter reprise of my earlier “100 Things” posts:

1. I am so pleased that SEO has actually become about creating quality content and providing useful information – especially I started in the days where keyword stuffing actually did work.

2. However, the sheer amount of link-building and SEO-centric content is still disappointing – I know everyone wants to get traffic, pageviews, and therefore those sweet advertising dollars and new client prospects. But don’t sacrifice quality. One original article that tells your story is worth a thousand or more crappy re-spun posts.

3. As much as I would like to pretend I am above the typical internet circle jerk sites that all repeat each others’ content, much of which is sourced from Reddit and other forums (sorry not sorry for the language – see what I did there?), I have some respect for them, and occasionally get sucked in by the catchy titles and funny combinations of gifs.

4. That said, I think Reddit might be one of the most valuable sources for inspiration and market research, especially if you look beyond the front page.

5. The fact that “Wasting Time On The Internet” is an actually Ivy League course will never cease to amuse me.

6. So many blogs and even companies try to copy each others’ marketing formulas – more so than ever. Looking at the “Best In Class” sites (however you define that) can be an inspiration, but it definitely doesn’t equal success.

7. The sheer number of ways to curate your experience and the content you receive amazes me – the web has basically become one big “choose your own adventure” game. But the number of users who take advantage of these is still relatively low – perhaps the amount of options are overwhelming and therefore it leads to mental inertia?

8. Pandora tops the mobile listings in regard to user interaction, and it is probably not that far behind for desktop as well. After all, listening to music is a relatively passive activity compared to posting on social media or similar ways to engage on mobile. We’ve come a long way from the days of Napster (yes, I remember and loved using Napster).

9. So many companies either neglect or make a big deal out of the simple things, like claiming all their listings and brand names on various sites, social media and otherwise. Don’t ignore it but don’t make the process overly complex, either.

10. Content discovery can be one of the most valuable aspects of the web in general, but it seems that the majority of people stick to the sites they know and trust.

11. The democratization of not only knowledge but access as well may be how the internet has truly changed the world. Almost anyone, anywhere can make themselves heard with nothing more than a mobile phone.

12. When you find yourself wishing that you could use emojis or gifs in an actual live conversation with another person, perhaps it is time to step away from technology for a bit. Use your words!

13. That said, a properly deployed meme can sometimes say more than words ever could.

14. This isn’t new, but it is underrated. The ability to reference virtually anything in a conversation or article and link right to the source might be my favorite element of the web – it is essentially real time citations on steroids (sans the academic regulations).

 

Now I”ll open it up to comments – what has changed about the web in the past 10 years for you?

Officially re-starting my blog – or maybe I never left, considering how many other places I’ve published since then (Google Jacqueline Zenn) for the run-down; if you count digital marketing and even ghost-writing, my work has accomplished even more.

Looking forward to engaging with new readers!

Everyone wants to leave their mark on the world in some way, shape, or form.

That’s why many of us got into the tech and digital space, after all. We want to create something that matters.

And no matter how long the hours are, or how tough the problems are to solve, we’re optimistic.

On NBC News in Chicago

September 27, 2011

If you’ve ever wanted to see me on video, here you go. I was recently on NBC’s The Talk with Marion Brooks discussing social media marketing and the launch of Socialogic, a new agency in Chicago (to point out the obvious – I work for them).

Ah, sweet validation from mainstream media.

My post on finding the right social media team members was published in Crain’s Chicago’s Small Biz Blog today.

Six years ago I was a fresh college graduate just getting started in the online marketing world. The average person didn’t know what a blog was, Facebook was restricted to university students in the U.S., and Twitter had yet to be invented. And the web was just starting to be respected and understood by mainstream marketing firms and teams.

Today, bloggers appear in commercials and social media is a key part of the marketing mix for brands both large and small. Finally, some respect! That said, I still see companies struggling with the connectivity, the immediacy, and the transparency of the web, and how it is all integrated into their organization. It’s an interesting problem, and one that I’ll continue to write more about on this blog.

Unrelated and relevant only to fellow Chicagoans – my agency is hosting an event at Social Media Week on social engagement and content creation – RSVP! It will be a great chance to gain some expertise, network with your fellow members of the media, and generally have a fabulous time.

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