Tag Archives: Valentine

Postcards From the Social Media Edge: Postagram

22 Feb

Considering our ever-more-digital world, with the U.S. Post Office teetering on bankruptcy, the decline of print media, and increasing social-connectedness, it’s with pleasure that I’m writing about a recent discovery: Postagram.

Send postcards from you iPhone and Android devices with Postagram.

Send postcards from your iPhone and Android devices with Postagram.

Remember Getting Mail When You Were A Kid?

That was a big deal! Birthday card, handwritten letter, or even a postcard – that was something to get excited about. But since it’s so easy to email or post a photo online, why bother sending anything even resembling a postcard these days? That’s where Postagram comes in for iPhone and Android users.

Getting Mail is Fun

Made by Sincerely, Inc. Postagram brings back the old fun of getting mail to the new fun of being digitally connected – AND mobile photography (you can imagine the geek-thrill this brings me). Using photos already on your mobile device, you upload a picture via the Postagram app, type out a quick message, and Postagram sends a physical postcard in the mail to your recipient with your image. Your recipient is stored in your address book on the site, along with your billing information for easy sending in the future. It’s a whopping $.99 to send a card.

I may never buy another physical postcard again

I did this a couple of weeks ago for Valentine’s day, sending my awesome wife a card in remembrance our prior Valentine’s experience at this restaurant where, for dessert, they have a special all-gelato spaghetti & meatballs. It’s awesome:

Trevi Italian Restaurant – Gelato Master Hank Sbraccia’s Spaghetti Ice serves up plenty of double takes—it’s a brimming pasta bowl of fresh homemade vanilla gelato strands acting as the spaghetti, chocolate gelato scoops as the meatballs, strawberry sauce as the mariana and shaved white chocolate as the Parmesan. “When I make gelato, you’re going to remember it,” Sbraccia says.

Of course, I took a picture of this after our romantic dinner 12 months ago and kept it in my phone.

Trevi Gelato Spaghetti Caesars Palace

It's all gelato except for the freshly ground white chocolate on top. This photo does not do it justice. Trevi, Caesars Palace.

Now this year, having discovered Postagram, I had a cool pic ready to try out the product with. I sent this to her office address for a twist on having flowers sent to work (in addition to handling the flowers on my own, duh).

Unfortunately, here’s where things take a turn, because although I did this a week ahead of time, my Postagram got lost in the mail. No biggie; we had a fine day nevertheless. I did contact customer service the next day, who within minutes apologized, explaining that they’d been having issues over the holiday, and immediately righted the situation with a replacement. Even though the moment had passed, I appreciate a good customer service experience, and this was one.

Keep The Fun Going: Social Media

The real bonus of all this is one thing I discovered in my research: your Postagram remains online, with social media sharing built-in. I had no idea about this, since I handled the entire process weeks earlier quickly on my phone, then archived the receipt email. But in looking up the order number, I noticed the link. So while I was waiting for the replacement card to be sent, I was able to send my wife a link to the original card with the photo and my text online. I emailed this to her and also posted it on Twitter. We’re both social media geeks that way.

Postagram by rsmithing

My awesome Postagram card, created on my phone, sent through the mail. You can also select an image for the "from" portion, and the main image pops out of the card as a standalone keepsake.

Returning the Favor with PR

Since my customer service experience was so positive, and since they mentioned they’d been having issues I thought I’d return the favor for Postagram by offering some sample tweets in our final email exchange they could send that might head off issues similar to the one I’d had:

  • Sorry about missing orders – but you can still send some Twitter love. Check your order email for the link!
  • Did you know you can Tweet a Postagram? See your confirmation email & click “Tweet”
  • Digital and traditional messages meet via tweet: Postagram postcards are Tweeetable!
  • Postagram not arrive? Do it digitally right now – here’s how [link to full blog post on how-to]
  • Relive the magic – follow up your Postagram with a Tweet [blog link]
They didn’t take me up on my tweet consulting, but they did express their appreciation, and did in fact send the replacement card as promised, which my awesome wife loved, even a few days after Valentine’s. So we’re keeping the fun going here even a week later.
From table to phone to postcard: Postagram.

From table to phone to postcard to my wife's desk: Postagram.

I’ll very likely use Postagram in the future, not only because of the good customer service, but also as a unique and easy way to keep in touch with my non-socially connected friends and relatives (and my social-networking-connected friends, just to freak them out with actual mail). They even recently integrated with one of my favorite photo-editing apps, PhotoForge2, with the functionality of sending cards right from within the app. Now I can send my creepy bug photos through the mail – excellent!

What do you think? Have you ever sent or received a card via Postagram or a similar service? When was the last time you sent a physical postcard? Will you be inclined to try something like Postagram next time you want to send a postcard? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Garbage Video Fan Art: Crowdsourcing Done Right

16 Feb

I love it when a plan comes together, and this one fires on my favorite cylinders: music, iPhoneography, social media and especially Public Relations. How could I not write a blog post about this!?  I’m sending a huge thanks to one of my favorite bands, Garbage, for including my artwork in the promo video for I Hate Love,  a track off their new album due in May, their first in seven years. I don’t hate love, but I do love me some Garbage, and not just because of their excellent taste in visual art. My grungy abstraction, “Heart on a Wall” flashes for half a second at :44 — if you don’t want to see it, be sure to blink. Just to prove I am not making this up, here ’tis:

Yeah! That’s us! Woo! Garbage!

The group even refers to it a “beautiful” in their Facebook album of all the artwork:

Aww, you guys! What a band!

Back in the day I saw Garbage rock the house, and Shirley Manson signed my ticket afterward, now enshrined in my mini-Hard Rock Cafe. Awesomeness all around.

Oh, and in the time between calling for submissions and posting the results, Garbage drummer and famed producer Butch Vig was on the Grammys behind Dave Grohl dropping a killer acceptance speech.

Obviously, I am pumped for this album. I’ve been a fan of the group since day one, and think they’re a talented bunch. Props to the band for some smart and fun crowdsourcing — way to make the most of social media and get the promo machine rolling for the record. It’s low-cost, super fun for the fans, and you might even get some music nerd to write a blog about it. Check their site for a look at how they did this.

This even made USA Today – wow! Way to score some earned media.

Garbage I Hate Love USA Today

All other bands should take note. Seriously. Email me. Let’s do some iPhoneography.

Have you ever been part of a crowdsourced promotion through social media or other media? Have you ever interacted directly with a favorite band, professional athlete, artist, public figure, or a celebrity you admire? Is there value in this type of promotion? Let us hear from you in the comments!

A Rosy Photo Edit Tutorial

14 Feb

A shoutout to magicunicorn for recognizing the musical reference here on Instagram. You rock!

Edit of a photo in honor of Valentine's Day. See below for Behind The Music.

My awesome wife got some of these for Valentine’s Day (from me), and so I had to get a photo and have some metaphoric fun with the result. Below is an approximate rundown of how this came to be, and some classic V-Day music for your listening pleasure. Whether you have a Valentine or not, get out there and share the love in whatever way you know how. Apps used: PhotoForge2, LumiereDynamic Light.

The original photo

After cropping and creating a heart in the center using PhotoForge2, I added texture and edginess in Lumiere.

A quick black & white solarization with Dynamic Light, then back to PhotoForge2 along with the previous file for layering.

Boosted saturation for more red, layered previous two versions and masked selectively to highlight certain bits in PhotoForge2.

Seriously, there was a ridiculous amount of masking involved. Took a while here.

And finally, the completed image. A metaphor for what's at the heart of all we go through in love. Ultimately, the reward is there.

And now, ladies and gentlemen…

The Replacements – Valentine

 

Well you wish upon a star that turns into a plane.
And I guess that’s right on par.
Who’s left to blame?

If you were a pill,
I’d take a handful at my will.
And I’d knock you back with something sweet and strong.
Plenty of times you wake up in February make-up;
Like the moon and the morning star you’re gone.

(chorus:)

Tonight makes love to all your kind.
Tomorrow’s makin’ Valentines.

Hey you pop up in this old place,
So sick and so refined (divine?).
Are you strung out on some face?
Well I know it ain’t mine.

If you were a pill, I’d take a handful at my will,
And I’d knock you back with something sweet and strong.
Trouble keeping your head up when you’re hungry and you’re fed up,
Like a moon and a lone star you’re gone.

(chorus)

If you were a pill, I’d take a handful at my will,
And I’d knock you back with something sweet as wine.
Yesterday was theirs to say; this is their world and their time.
Well if tonight belongs to you, tomorrow’s mine.

Any questions? I know I didn’t cover all the steps, so please fire away below and I’ll answer the best I can. How has your Valentine’s Day been? Did you do anything for or with your significant other? If so, what? If not, what else did you do? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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