We Have Moved!

November 24, 2009

Visit us at our new address:

http://www.castercomm.com/blog

Thanks to Kriselle Laran of Bullfrog Media for the integration help – our blog now has a home on our website.

Update your bookmarks!


Creating our own History

November 19, 2009

Are we blogging or are we creating our own social history?  When we learned about history it was from our grandparents or in history books, the library was the number one place to find all this information and for the more recent generations, Google was a great way to find some broad ideas on a topic.  Our grandchildren will know it all.  Every single detail because we have been writing it for them.  Historians who have come and gone and done extensive research to get even big details are rolling over in their graves. 

Our generation is allowing years of people to come to see what our interests are, our dreams, our pictures, and our individual taste in music.  We are engraving ourselves in the World Wide Web.  Twitter allows us to let a huge audience know what we are accomplishing that day, while Facebook allows us to keep in touch with people we may not have even met.  Our day to day interactions are being permanently recorded and formatted in easily organizable segments of information. 

 Historians in the future will have every detail, no need to leave anything up for question or giving them reason to guess.  Every single detail has the opportunity and in most cases is actually recorded in full detail.  Most of our friends know who we are with and what we did last night. 

Reality T.V. has become a real hit the past few years and why not, we all love to know what is going on in everyone else’s lives.  We want to know because of a mere interest but even to use it to compare our own lives.  It is so easy to interact with people now while they are doing things.  I can join a friend at a baseball game via Facebook or wish my cousin overseas a happy birthday via Skype. 

 Twitter, Facebook and MySpace are giving us the opportunity to make friends with people we may necessarily not have the opportunity to. We are also to keep in touch with our friends from college who moved two continents away.  We are able to learn about each other’s cultures and each other’s actions.  This gives us such a great opportunity to relate and understand one another.  History is starting to have a whole new meaning!

By Kate Ksielka.  Follow me on Twitter


Hopenhagen: Marketing for a Real Cause

November 18, 2009

Recently, I saw Freya Williams, co-founder of OglivyEarth speak at the Opportunity Green conference in Los Angeles on their recent campaign.  Based on Cop15, the climate change summit being held with world leaders in Copenhagen on December 7, Hopenhagen was created to drive awareness towards the very important summit.  More importantly, Williams said it was formed to create a community of hope around climate change and the direction we as global citizens want to take.  Ogilvy Earth is an international sustainable marketing firm with big clients like DuPont and the Environmental Defense Fund – and using their large scale influence in the space, launched an international campaign to drive one thing: hope.

As Williams pointed out, “We don’t need to create a movement– the people already have their passion. We set out to create an umbrella under which people can gather.”

Cop15 is one of the most controversial global meetings in recent years, with some arguing it is one of the last changes to develop a concrete and realistic plan to mitigate climate change and reverse the devastating effects of global warming.  Others believe that there is no real chance for actual action but are still using the event as a symbol for the level of engagement needed from the global community.

From the Hopenhagen website:

Success at COP15 is far from a given. 192 countries are represented, and that means 192 points of view. Much discussion will be around the exact emissions targets and who will pay to see they’re met. Given that developed regions like North America and Western Europe are responsible for most emissions, developing countries argue that those nations should invest disproportionately in the solutions. There is also the question of how to assist smaller nations that are already suffering the effects of climate change.

If you haven’t watched any of the footage or seen this campaign, it is worth checking out and signing up.  Kudos to Williams and her team for a brilliantly executed message.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter

 


Working online from home…Another Scam!

November 17, 2009

I read an article today about how I can make roughly 25 dollars for every link I post on Google.  My thoughts were well of course, Google is reputable; I definitely wouldn’t mind sitting at home on my days off uploading links and making some extra cash.  The website even states “as seen on, CNN, MSNBC, USA Today, CBS and NBC”, well this made me even more excited.  But when I clicked on one of these reputable news feeds it just sent me to a link asking me for my information.  They would never post anything that was a scam.   But would a scam itself state that this is true.  Yes most likely. 

After reading it and re-reading it, I then clicked on the link, it stated, “You could make up to $300-$1,000 per day working from home income library with Google”   There is was again the reassurance of Google a website I use daily while working here at Caster for research. The link asked me simple questions, my name, address, email, telephone, then clicked and boom there it was NO INFO!  “Work from home and profit with Google” Just please give us your credit card information….  I am extremely skeptical of these things so I needed to search further than falling for the $1.97 processing fee.  It seemed too good to be true.  And it was.

On the bottom of the page in very tiny print it read, “Google does not sponsor, endorse, and is no way affiliated with income library or this promotion”. How can they do this?  How can they in blue, red, yellow and green Google lettering tell me that I can make this money?  When Google doesn’t even have anything to do with it?  I went on to read the terms and conditions in small very light grey lettering that proceeded to inform me of the $99.99 onetime fee and the 47.50 per month you will be charged till you cancel.  Also the $84.84 you will be charged after the 30 day trial runs out and another $35.47 that will be charged monthly for signing you up for continued services.  So that $1.97 for the entire year became $1,182.44.  Hopefully people would cancel their subscription after realizing such outrageous transactions but if not could amount to that after charges each month. 

It is sad that so many people fall for these scams.  Right now with the economy the way it is a lot of people are looking to make a quick buck wherever and however they can.  Sadly with empty promises like this one people may find themselves in even more debt then they started out with.  When looking into online work I suggest you read ALL the fine print.

By Kate Kiselka


YouTube Gets an Upgrade

November 16, 2009

For all of you avid YouTube posters get ready for some exciting news! Starting this week, YouTube will support 1080p high resolution videos. As high-def digital video camcorders become the norm, it was only a matter of time before YouTube caught up and figured out how to support the bulkier, albeit much prettier videos. Personally I am super excited about this. I love posting clients’ videos, but I am always upset when I spend so much time editing, then they just get decompressed when loaded onto YouTube.

Currently the best option to host our HD masterpieces is Vimeo, but with the free subscription, you are only allowed to post three HD videos per week. Plus, Vimeo has a much smaller reach. If you want to get eyes on your videos, YouTube is the best way to go. Now video posters can have the best of both worlds.

YouTube has stated that they are not worried about infrastructure problems or higher costs associated with supporting bulkier files. Videos uploaded form regular users will still have a 10-minuted limit, although the maximum file size will likely be upped from the current 2GB. Now the coolest part: Videos that have already been uploaded at 1080p (ALL of mine!) will be automatically re-encoded to play back at the higher resolution.

Ok – yes – I may be a little over excited about this new development, but us as an agency and our clients have produced some pretty impressive videos (such as the infamous “Donkey at a house party”), it’s a shame that they haven’t been able to be viewed in all their high-def glory!

In all seriousness, although it is considered “high-def” 1080p has really become the standard it was only a matter of time before YouTube caught up.

Posted by: Lauren


Facebook: The Crimestopper Edition

November 13, 2009

In the last few years, Facebook has become an integral piece of our social fabric.  I remember being in high school, jealous of my friends who were already in college and eligible for membership to the then college-only network.  When I got my Facebook account, I instantly had a couple hundred new “friends” (the other freshman from my university were quick to start “friending” everyone in the class of 2009 and creating “09 is the best eva!” groups).  My mother was forced by her employer to create an account for business purposes.  My dad uses his to keep in touch with his aunts, uncles and cousins in Michigan.  Despite the ability to expand my social circle, I never found anything actually useful about Facebook (although I do check it quite frequently).  But now, Facebook has a new use – providing alibis and saving people from jail time.  Finally  – a legitimate excuse to use Facebook.

2 weeks ago, Facebook did much more than allow Rodney Bradford to keep in touch with his girlfriend.  Unbeknownst to him, it was also going to be a key factor in getting him out of jail.  After he was named as a suspect in a mugging, Rodney turned himself in – knowing that he hadn’t actually committed the crime and believing his name would immediately be cleared.  However, when the victim picked him out of a lineup, he spent 12 days in a New York jail.

Rodney’s alibi was that he was at his fathers house, and it was true.  However – once he was picked out of the lineup, the courts weren’t buying it. It wasn’t until Rodney’s father saw a message Rodney had posted to his girlfriend on Facebook, approximately 1 minute before the crime happened in another part of the city, that his name was cleared.  Using the timestamp provided in the Facebook post, and the location of the computer from which it was posted, authorities were able to determine that Rodney had, in fact, been at this father’s house in an entirely different part of the city 1 minute before the crime was committed.

Rodney’s home with his dad and stepmother now, cleared of any crimes.  And his family is probably thrilled with any time he decides to spend on Facebook.

Posted by Courtney || Follow me on Twitter


The Holiday shopping season is looking bleak.

November 12, 2009

The economy crisis will be affecting all aspects of holiday shopping this year.  Sales and coupons will be consumer’s biggest buys while regular priced items may collect dust on the shelves.  People have even voiced that second hand shops for close friends and family will not be out of the question to buying gifts.  Last year’s holiday decorations will be dusted off and reused before the purchase of new ones. 

People will be more opt to buying practical gifts such as clothing and necessities rather than toys and novelty items.  If people are creative that will give them even more options to make gifts this year.  Homemade calendars with pictures printed right from your computer would make a great thoughtful gift.  Joint gifts and secret Santa’s will probably be more popular this year as well.  A ConsumerReports survey on 1,000 adults said that two-thirds of the U.S. plan to spend less this year and that 6 percent are still paying of last year’s holiday debt. 

Some stores have already began trying to make sure that the smaller percent of people who will be shopping, shop at their stores by making sure they market themselves perfectly.  Target.com has begun their free shipping promotion two weeks earlier this year and also has expanded the number of items available for free shipping.  Some stores who have been already affected by last year’s lack of holiday spending might not have the funds to do as much advertising as the bigger stores. 

Barry Judge the chief marketing director of Best Buy has began targeting young consumers this holiday season.  By placing ads on Twitter and Facebook.  By using these social media networks Best Buy can focus on the younger consumers and that is where they are, not looking in the newspaper.  

The key to financially effective shopping this year is to start the season with a budget and a list.  Start with your budget first, how much realistically can you spend this season.  When doing so remember mostly everyone will be cutting back this season.  Then make a list and next to each name and write the amount you want to spend on each person.  Be creative and talk with siblings about secret Santa’s so you only need to buy for one family member than all five.  Try to use cash unless you know factually you can pay your credit card off after each purchase.  Holiday shopping shouldn’t put you in debt it should be fun!

By Kate Kiselka


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