Sunday, February 28, 2010

An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Influence Pyramid and You

Written by Jay Fuller

Ever like a product so much that you felt inspired to hop onto your account and write a glowing review? Or maybe you just signed onto Twitter so you could share your utter love of that strange yeast by-product, Vegemite?

Really? You like this stuff?

In the age of the Internet, everyone has the power to shape a brand.

Understanding the relationships between different online influencers is an important step in building brand awareness and strategically positioning content. So let’s start at the top.

More Content Makes a World of Difference

Take a look at Kraft’s website for Vegemite. Pretty static, right? Looks like they hired someone to write a few recipes and then called it a day.

Now check out Breville’s Food Thinkers site. Here we have daily updates with new recipes, articles, and videos providing valuable, dynamic content. Notice the difference? Consumers can.

Both brands hired journalists to flesh out their content, but at the top of the Influence Pyramid, there’s only so much they can do.

For the Love of the … Brand?

Just below you have the digital influencers. These guys are the ultimate super fans. Forget money, it’s all about the love.

When a friend teased Scott Lewis about his obsession with Dunkin Donuts way back in 1999, he responded by starting the Dunkin Donuts Talk Blog. Before long, the site was getting almost 2000 unique visits a day.

But Dunkin Donuts never really embraced the online community Lewis had built and the site has since become a shell of its former self. Did DD miss a branding opportunity? We think so.

Johnny Apple Seed

Leaders like Lewis aren’t quite as common as prosumers. Remember that Amazon review you wrote? Or that tweet about Vegemite? This is where you belong.

Prosumers are interested consumers who seed content by sharing links, writing reviews, and participating in online communities. How influential can they be? According to Retrevo, Apple Ipad tweets shot up ten-fold on the day of its announcement to about 500-600 tweets a minute. That’s a lot of brand related content.

And Then There’s the Rest

At the bottom of our pyramid, you find the consumers. They might not be inspired to participate in content creation, but you better believe they read. And read. And read.

They represent about 90% of the online crowd. These are the people who read prosumer reviews and tweets, specialty blogs, and officially created content and take it all to heart.

Consumers ultimately decide brand value with their time and their wallets, so it's important to understand how the influence of brand journalists, digital influencers, and prosumers trickles down. Once you understand the structure of the Influence Pyramid, you've got an essential roadmap for navigating online brand strategy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Alcohol Etiquette

Hey all you social drinkers out there, let me pose a hypothetical.

Say you invite someone of drinking age to a lunch. Say you order first and get a beer. Do you feel a little bit insulted when the other person does not order an alcoholic drink? Somewhere, deep down, perhaps even subconsciously, do you take it as a minor offense? Is it a social affront that you secretly take to heart? Do you twist it into a condescending character judgment? "Why won't he drink with me? Does he think he's better than me? Am I no fun?"

Well, if for some reason you do, then please don't.

I don't like to drink. I just don't. And that's all there is to it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Poo-Stache = High Class

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Song! -- Bouncy Waltz

Want to know what kind of music plays in my head ALL DAY LONG? Here's a little sneak peek into my brain:

I was practically tormented by the song. I had to get it out into the real world, had to pick this little idea-booger out so I could move on with my life. This song was absolutely obstinate and refused to go away. So here it is. I've heard it a bajillion times and so I've lost all sense of perspective: is it catchy? Is it pleasant? Who knows? And who cares? It's finally done.

I always wonder if the people who listen to my music appreciate or can even discern (from my crappy, echo-y sound mixes) the layers of harmony and melody going on behind the scene. All told, there are 11 instruments playing (if we count string sections as one instrument). That's 11 parts I have to write! That can be exhausting --damn near maddening-- even on a short piece like this!

For the record, here's the list of instruments playing:

French Horn
4 String Sections (1 pizzicato)

To give you a better sense for what individual instruments are doing, here's a version of the song with just the timpani, percussion, French horn, 1 string section, clarinet, and glockenspiel playing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Web Designin' Banapple

Hey guys and gals. Have you checked out the new Banapple Website yet? It's gone through another design iteration. I don't know about you, but I'm liking it. Almost makes me want to re-design this tired old blog. Too bad that would be a TON of work!

In the meantime, I'm planning on keeping Depth Deception as my personal blog. IT LIVES (at least, for a little while longer!)

Check out

Roger Ebert: The Essential Man

If you haven't read Esquire's profile on Roger Ebert, I suggest you do. It's compelling writing. You can find the full text online here.

I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dr. Phineas J Coconut Has Arrived

He's been sent to class-up Banapple. I think he's doing a bang-up job.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Banapple Integration

Do you see it? Up there, in the corner! It's a permanent link to my new webcomic Banapple. Why don't you click it and give it a spin? (You know you want to...)

Once you're there, you can check out another new comic! Here, I'll make it easy for you.

Just click. Come on. All the cool kids are doing it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gay Muslims in the UK

Just watched this BBC special about gay Muslims living in the UK. It's heart-breaking and completely baffling.

When people start criticizing Islam, there's usually a lot of backtalk about moderate Muslims and unfair generalizations. I tend to be more sympathetic to this argument than some of the more ardent irreligionists out there in the blogosphere. That's because I'm a humanist; I disagree with religious concepts that cast humanity as sinners who are naturally bad. I like to think humans are fundamentally good and it is ignorance that twists and turns individuals to do evil.

Granted, I'm only looking at a small slice, so it may not be appropriate to make generalizations, but it's programs like this BBC special which shake my confidence in the human character. THIS IS THE UNITED KINGDOM we're talking about and still these poor Muslim gays and lesbians are tormented and ostracized by their communities, by their religion and even by their own families. Where's the moderation? Where's the mercy? Where's the kindness in a religion that produces such cruel acts?

Ignorance is largely to blame. Not once do the reporters or the subjects of this documentary appeal to the very well established science of human sexuality. Facts are stubborn things, as John Adams famously said. If only science was a part of the discussion, imagine the shackles of ignorance and oppression that might be lifted!

But it seems as if these Muslims, who are so entranced by their holy book, who have submitted so completely to its promises and teachings (Islam translates to submission, I've heard), it seems like science and simple facts are never even considered. How do you soften the hearts and minds of a people so set in their ways that they'd sooner plug their ears, poke out their eyes, and cut off their tongues before letting go of a little piece of some 7th century mythology?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Banapple Update

I uploaded a brand new Banapple comic today. Where is it, you ask? Why, at it's very own website

What are you waiting for? CHECK IT OUT!

Afrika Soundtrack is Amazing

Holy cow. I'm so glad this music has been brought to my attention. Really stellar work.

Game: Afrika
Developer: Rhino Studios [ ]
Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment▪Natsume [ ▪]
Engine: Dunia
Composer: Wataru Hokoyama
Song: Savanna
OST Playtime: 33min
Genre: Safari Simulation
Mode: Singleplayer
ESRB: Everyone
Release Date: August 28, 2008 for PlayStation 3
Platforms: PlayStation 3
♫►►►Copyrights belongs to Rhino Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, Natsume◄◄◄♫

Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

American vs British Culture -- Deja Vu with Quentin Crisp

I've become a sucker for pro-American sentimentality, especially when espoused by foreign visitors. Quentin Crisp moved to NYC when he was 72. The way he speaks, you'd think he did not find happiness until he finally landed in the States. That's a long time to wait before reaching, what the psychologists might call, self-actualization. But therein lies the great lesson: it's never too late to find happiness.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blogger's Regret

Insofar as original content is concerned, I feel I have been neglecting my blog. Let's try to make up for it with this post, eh?

I, uh....err, um.... let's see...

Substitute teaching has been a surprisingly enjoyable experience, although, like most jobs, there are good days and there are bad days. Some of the kids are starting to learn that I'm a pushover. I'm afraid they'll all soon smell blood in the water... Then again, I have kids coming up to me, giving me high-fives, saying hello. Maybe I'm not such a lame-oid? Do kids still use the suffix -oid?

I've been thinking about redesigning my blog again. But that would mean redesigning my portfolio and it took a very long time to get it to where it is today. The problem with personal blogs is that they lack focus. I don't have anything to keep people coming back. If I started a webcomic and updated it, say, biweekly, then I might be able to build an audience and deliver on they're expectations (as opposed to offering up the eclectic hodgepodge I have going now). And, like most webcomic artists, I could incorporate my personal blog into my comic blog.

As it turns out, wordpress has a popular webcomic template (and blogger, as far as I can tell, does not). Perhaps it is time to move on, to try something new, and build a real, active online presence. I might drop "Depth Deception" and use "Banapple" as my anchor. Believe it or not, a lot of little goofy ideas hove sprung up in my mind concerning Banana and Apple and I'd love to explore them.

The Boston Public library is offering a Children's book writer residency and, even though I'd have a hard time soliciting relevant recommendation letters, I feel like it might be within my grasp. They're looking for up-and-coming writers and I'm just sitting on this great Children's book idea, the HMS Albatross. It's practically ready to go! Only problem is, every time I sit down to write it, I become disgusted with my prose. And I can never tell if I'm too hard on myself or if I'm deluding myself into thinking I have talent. For a writer, I sure don't do much writing. Perhaps I'm passing the buck, but I've always felt I needed a muse. I need someone to be excited for me, to push me, to support me, to give me that little thrill that encourages me to keep going.

I'm trying to finish arranging the theme that was originally called "the Phone Song" and I'm starting to have a hard time of it. The first half went so well! But I've slowed down and the transitions sound jarring. Now I have to wait for a solution to strike me. Waiting.... waiting... waiting...

Would this be funny? An image of a Jamaican man tripping a woman with the title, "Jamaican Jerk"? Sounds like a Depth Deception pun... but who likes puns?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Yes, I'm a DBZ Fan

And yes, I enjoy this picture.


Monday, February 1, 2010

True Love Will Find You in the End

Well, I never thought I'd have a Daniel Johnston song on my ipod, but I've been obsessed with this simple, hopeful yet melancholic track. If you haven't already seen the excellent documentary "The Devil and Daniel Johnston," which is a portrait of the manic-depressive singer/songwriter/artist, then I highly recommend you get yourself a copy and take a look.

Beck covers Johnston:

A cover from the film Eagle vs Shark: