Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Fun: Ellen and the Haunted House

When my friend Terry posted this clip from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she included a note that the video made her laugh until she cried. Being a skeptic, I had to watch.

You know what? I laughed until I cried. Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Boys, feel free to hide behind me anytime. Everyone knows how brave I am around the walking dead.
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is a picture still worth a thousand words?

In yesterday's post, I wondered why Humans of New York really soared when the photographer added quotes to his photos. Here's the beautiful answer from Le Grand Lapin:


The quotes help break through the "image callus" that we have all grown over the past five or seven years. Since everyone on the planet now carries a camera with them at all times, individual images are cheap and easy to produce. The Instagram effect - instant "art" - further devalues images in general. The "decisive moment" has been eroded to include any moment, anywhere.

Words, however, can't be mass-produced and are still a valued commodity that require some level of effort to create, curate and publish. Intelligent words, describing a place in time, a feeling or a reason to be are so rare that combined with a photograph of the creator, they have the heft and value of gold.

P.S. from Jan: It's so wonderful to feel the power of a creative community -- to put a question out there and get an answer. Makes it seem far less solitary in my quiet home office. Thanks, Big Bunny!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Creative Inspiration: Humans of New York

No matter what kind of day I'm having, it gets better when a post from Humans of New York pops up. (For what it's worth, I "liked" the HONY Facebook page, so that's where I get my fix.)

The fascinating thing to me? Photographer Brandon Stanton started his blog with just photos. It became an international sensation when he added quotes. The words, the stories, added power to the pictures. My photography buddies might want to weigh in on why.

HONY touches my heart by giving me an intimate glimpse* into the lives of real people. I don't need to know all about them -- I don't want to follow them on Twitter or be their friends on Facebook. I trust Stanton to see the shot, hear the quote and share the story. I don't know if his greatest skill is photography or listening. But I love his work and think you will too!

*Can a glimpse be intimate? Ah, if you have to ask, you've never flirted.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Creativity Tips: TGIM!

Let me guess: TGIM! isn't the first thing you think on a Monday morning. Am I right? Yeah, I understand. It's not always my first thought either. But here's what I know. The attitude we take into the week helps shape our week.

Am I sure? You betcha. Heck, research shows that the simple act of smiling can improve your mood, and impact the moods of those around you. Attitude matters.

So, this week, let's go for smiles. Let's go for happy. Let's all stand up straight, clean up nice and march into the week eager to see what creative adventures await.


Friday, October 18, 2013

The First Rule of Communications

I woke up this morning, wandered into the kitchen and made a radical decision. I'd have tea rather than coffee to kickstart my day. Of course, it had to be the right tea. Not the sleepytime, fruity-tooty teas I drink at night.

English breakfast tea? Just the thing!
I boiled the water, brewed the tea and started sipping. I sipped. And sipped. And never felt that lovely jolt of, "I'm waking up and everything is possible with caffeine."

So I took another look:

Huh? Naturally decaffeinated? But it's breakfast tea!  
It's hard to see (and that's my point), but the label says "Naturally Decaffeinated." Why would Twinings make that hard to read? And why in the world would they think it's natural to take caffeine out of breakfast?

I don't care if you're writing, designing or talking with your beloved. Remember the First Rule of Communications:

Always think about your audience.

There isn't a single soul in England -- or anywhere else -- who wants decaffeinated breakfast tea. What we do want, at breakfast, is simple:
1. Respect for the fact that we're not fully awake, focused and functioning.
2. Packaging that doesn't require us to be fully awake, focused and functioning to read it.
3. Caffeine, so that we can be fully awake, focused and functioning.

Always think about your audience. Always. Who are you trying to reach? What do they know? What do they want? What do they want to know? What would capture their attention long enough to get them to hear/see/understand your message?

First things first, folks. It's not about you. It's about them. In this case, it's about me and my tea. See what happens when I'm deprived of caffeine? I start blogging again. Be warned. And feel free to make Constant Comments.