Galactic Tweets

Yesterday NASA’s Mike Massimino, part of a seven person crew that left Cape Canaveral on a final maintenance mission to keep the Hubble Space Telescope in service until 2014, sent the first tweet from space. It read:

From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!

Just another way that mainstream entities are utilizing social media – in this case Twitter – to build and maintain relationships and enhance their brand. If NASA – not known for their agility and adoption of new ways of doing things – can figure out a way to use social media what’s stopping other entities? Fear? Sloth? Apathy?

I think it’s a lack of understanding and confusion about what exactly social media is, how to use it, which of the myriad applications to use and how to implement it and make it part of the culture. I think I detect a stream of blog posts coming on….

By the way, you can follow our intrepid astronaut – Mike Massimino – here Astro_Mike

Playing for Change

I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this until this morning on NPR but there is an absolutely amazing CD created by producer Mark Johnson called Playing for Change. On it musicians from around the world – from the streets of Santa Monica to the desert of Africa and everywhere in between – sing together for Change.

This one is for Cristina:

One Love:

This is a special one that will touch you if you are as I am, a Bob Marley fan:

Here’s a link where you can buy the mp3 of the album. And be sure to check out the Playing For Change website. i hope this brought some joy into you day it certainly did for me.

The Psychology of Color

One of the most frequent conversations I have with my web and blog design clients is about color. For most people color is a totally subjective topic – they have a color or colors that they really like and a color or colors that they really don’t. The rest of the color spectrum is, for most people, just there on the periphery and not something they pay particular attention to. This like and dislike for certain colors often finds its way into conversations about the design of a client’s website or blog. It’s my job to educate them that regardless of their personal feelings about color there’s much more at stake.

For designers, real designers not those who merely claim the title, the use of color is less about mere aesthetics – though certainly it plays a role – and more about psychology and science. The choice of color in a particular design directly effects the impression a visitor has about your site and the business or services behind it. If you question this at all consider for a moment the colors used in schools and hospitals where one sees mostly light blues and greens because of the specific psychological impact they have creating states of calm, quietude, higher thoughts and peace. Think also of the common colors used in prisons in the US – gray (or colors with a lot of gray overtones) due to its capacity to evoke psychological states of staidness, gloominess, quiet and security.

Many studies have been conducted to determine the psychological impact of color. From these studies certain truths have emerged and it is these truths that I and all good designers use to inform the designs that we create for our clients.

Some of these truths about color are as follows:

The Color Psychology of Black

  • Black absorbs all light in the color spectrum. Black represents a lack of color, the primordial void, emptiness.
  • Black is often used as a symbol of menace or evil, but it is also popular as an indicator of power. It is used to represent treacherous characters such as Dracula and is often associated with witchcraft.
  • Black is associated with death and mourning in many cultures. It is also associated with unhappiness, sexuality, formality, and sophistication.
  • Black is often used in fashion because of its slimming quality.

Consider how black is used in our daily language: Black Death, blackout, black cat, black list, black market, black tie, black belt.

The Color Psychology of Green

  • Green is a cool color that symbolizes nature and the natural world.
  • Green also represents tranquility, good luck, health, and jealousy.
  • Researchers have also found that green can improve reading ability. Some students may find that laying a transparent sheet of green paper over reading material increases reading speed and comprehension.
  • Green has long been a symbol of fertility and was once the preferred color choice for wedding gowns in the 15th-century. Even today, green M & M’s (an American chocolate candy) are said to send a sexual message.
  • Green is often used in decorating for its calming effect. For example, guests waiting to appear on television programs often wait in a “green room” to relax.
  • Green is thought to relieve stress and help heal. Those who have a green work environment experience fewer stomachaches.

Consider how green is used in language: green thumb, green with envy, greenhorn.

The Color Psychology of Orange

  • Orange is a combination of yellow and red and is considered an energetic color.
  • Orange calls to mind feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth.
  • Orange is often used to draw attention, such as in traffic signs and advertising.

The Color Psychology of Blue

  • Blue is described as a favorite color by many people and is the color most preferred by men.
  • Blue calls to mind feelings of calmness or serenity. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly.
  • Blue can also create feelings of sadness or aloofness.
  • Blue is often used to decorate offices because research has shown that people are more productive in blue rooms.
  • Blue is one of the most popular colors, but it is one of the least appetizing. Some weight loss plans even recommend eating your food off of a blue plate. Blue rarely occurs naturally in food aside from blueberries and some plums. Also, humans are geared to avoid foods that are poisonous and blue coloring in food is often a sign of spoilage or poison.
  • Blue can also lower the pulse rate and body temperature.

Consider how blue is used in language: blue moon, blue Monday, blue blood, the blues, and blue ribbon.

This is a long post. I’ll post more tomorrow about the psychology of other colors. The point of all of this is that color as it applies to designing for the web is far more important that the subjective like vs. don’t like. The effective use of color can either help you get your message across to your audience or it can ensure that you won’t.

Social Media Officer

A sure sign that corporations are starting to “get it” in regards to the importance of social media being part of the overall marketing strategy is mainstream companies beginning to create position around the subject. Comodo has done just that. They’ve created a Social Media Officer position.

When asked by Practical ecommerce why Melih Abdulhayoglu the CEO of Comodo said:

“Well, humans rode on a horseback for tens of thousands of years and then in less than 100 years, we went from a horseback to a jet plane. What caused that revolution? What was the trigger to get us from a horseback to a jet plane? The answer was the Gutenberg press, the invention of printing that allowed us to retain and share information.”

“The Internet is that printing machine on steroids. The Internet allows us to retain and share information. That’s where social media comes into place. We are using it for socially interacting with each other, connecting us together. It’s the connectedness that is changing the way that we behave, we act, we transact on Internet. That becomes as important as the printing machine itself and this is why we [Comodo] have a position for social media because social media is like the printing machine. It allows us to communicate and share information with people.”

What a brilliant analogy and assessment of the social media landscape. As someone who works with companies to help them figure out how to use social media to build relationships, enhance their brand and drive sales, I hope more CEOs take the same tack in regard to social media and its place in their marketing arsenal.

Easter in Oakland

I just got back from Oakland where I spent Easter with my girlfriend Cristina and her family. We had a terrific time though I don’t possess nearly the stamina of the Perez family – these people are like energizer party bunnies.

While there I spotted my first in-person Tesla on the street. I’m posting this picture I took from the backseat of Cristina’s brother’s car mostly to make my friend Darren Loher jealous!!

Sweet Sweet Environmentally Friendly Ride

Sweet Sweet Environmentally Friendly Ride

Beware of Identity Theft this Easter!!!

I received the following in a warning email from a very dear friend of mine this morning.

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Happy Easter everyone!!

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