Aug 10

Our Privacy Online

For a while I thought that internet privacy was over. The era of your mom telling you that  you shouldn’t talk to strangers and to keep your identity a secret was coming to an end.  I kept the mind set that the internet has become just another facet of a person’s identity and that information you post up is similar to being part of a phone book or walking down the street. Recently there have been a few things which made me reflect upon  how internet privacy and anonimity on the web still has some importance.

Blizzard Vs. The Hordes:

Earlier Blizzard Corp makers of World of WarCraft, Diablo and Star Craft announced the implementation of a RealID system which they planned to put into place for the upcoming Star Craft 2 title and later across their entire library of games. The idea behind real ID was that users could interact and be more connected to their friend lists within these games.  Blizzard had to later pull back on this initiative  because of the massive backlash from their communities and it is now  an optional feature rather than being  enforced system wide.

When everyone has a Facebook account why would gamers be concerned about revealing their personal information in game? Well for some its a sense of escape, it takes them away from their day to day lives as described in an editorial from Daniel Lipscombe  titled Why I play games: My Escapism . Gaming is a way to become separate from day to day activities. If you attach your real name to characters in game or within discussion of the game  is that separation still there? Also if  a character named “Princess Peach” decked out in pink  is suddenly attached to a user named Joe Blow can this person still act out the characteristics of that character? (Ok extreme example but you get the point!)  Despite all of this openness on social sites such as Facebook,  anonimity is still sought in the gaming world because once you form your character you can be a different person than yourself. When that character suddenly has your name it changes that aspect of the game.

The Anonymous Internet

With the ability to act (almost) completely anonymous online a certain mob mentality can often sink in within a group of like minded users sometimes with negative consequences.

Jessi Slaughter  AKA Kerligirl13 an 11 year old  from the U.S. enjoyed sharing her life and her interests on YouTube like many vloggers. As video views increased on her channel she began to see negative comments and she reacted much like any 11 year old girl would with a reactionary video. This video to haters  with the infamous line “I’ll pop a glock in your mouth and make a brain slushy” went viral and attracted the wrong type of attention. So much so that her and her family are now under police protection .

A large cause of this problem  is a site called 4chan. Now I won’t go into much details about the site or its users (because they scare the hell out of even me…) but as a group they have been known for creating false rumors about Steve Jobs having a heart attack (and causing Apple stock to take a tumble) and rigging the Time Magazine 2008 most influential person poll to be Christopher Poole aka Moot the founder of the site. Essentially this site with its large and anonymous user base is able to cause a lot of trouble when motivated to do so.

Upon seeing the video from Jessi ,4chan users decided to take it upon themselves to teach this girl a ‘lesson’ through harassing phone calls and  vandalism of social media profiles among other things. While what this little girl has said online is  absolutely inappropriate for a girl her age to be saying at all, harassing her and her family is even worse. With the growing ease of finding personal information online it is easy to announymously contact another person and do actions to them to the point of harassment. Kids especially not knowing the expansiveness of the internet and the consequences of being online are now increasingly at risk of receiving abuse online and without fully understanding could be sharing all sorts of personal information with perfect strangers on the web.

With younger age groups being at such risk online its very easy to say that they should be protected but the harder thing to answer is how?  No matter what restrictions are put in place there will be work arounds. Age restrictions on sites are easily lied to and  parental controls are almost easily turned off as well. When others can act anonymously and manipulate your own information how can be protect those who are just learning about the full expanse of the web?

Creating Online Persona’s

In the end I think managing your online self is becoming just as important as managing yourself offline. We all are visible online, its as easy as a quick google search so we need to ensure that only what we want people to see is visible. I think we also have to remember that our anonymous selves aren’t completely anonymous either. Comments or accounts that you think you made in private  can still be potentially tracked back to you.

Having these online persona’s bring on new problems like cyber bullying and identity theft and for good and for bad put us in front of a more global audience. For now I’ll remain more careful of what I place online and will continue to watch how things develop.

Do you have a question or comment ? Feel free to reach me at @kevrichard or kevin@kevrichard.com

Jul 10

Announcement: Blog Redux

Yikes,its been since the end of April that  I wrote something on this blog… truthfully thats a little embarrassing! Its not that I dislike writing its just with my current format I don’t have anything to say… right now with so much content about social media going out  and not much in terms of change within the area theres not much content  that really gets my brain going.

So then what? Am I going to let this blog die?  Absolutely not, its just going to change format! What’s going on in the world of tech ( Interactive, Web and Consumer products) still really gets my gears going so I’m going to work and have that become the much more dominant content of this site. Thats not to say that I may slip in a post or two about Social media as from time to time I may come across or work on some really awesome stuff  but its no longer going to be a  focus ( just to worn the 5 or so people that are actually still reading this!).

In the next few weeks expect some changes to show up. If I can get things up and working I’m hoping to get some custom theme work in and probably a change in name and domain. In the end I think if I want to keep this blog up and running its got to come down to passion and having a bit of fun with this thing. Stay tuned!!

Mar 10

Are you learning anything from Social Media?

So I’ve been procrastinating with posting this for a bit , but now I think I have a good intro…. So at my new job at Syncapse, I do a lot of measuring and spending my day looking at client data.  I’m finding it  really exciting because essentially I get paid to do the learning for companies so they can consistently improve their Social Media strategy. Reflecting on the work I do though it seems for a good portion of the ‘social media world’ that metrics and measurement and the whole idea of ‘learning’ from what you’re doing doesn’t get talked about a whole lot. With that, I thought I’d put down a few of my thoughts of why Social Media measurement or the idea of ‘learning’ within Social Media strategy is so important.

You Get To See if Things Work: With Social Media measurement you get to gauge how effective online strategies really are.  Are there no conversations surrounding your content? Is  there conversation but not the kind you want to hear? Then there is obviously something that needs to be fixed. Perhaps you haven’t told your audience about your initiatives or maybe your content isn’t relevant to them. By implementing strategies and comparing them to what you’ve done in the past  you are able to see what you’re doing right or wrong and how to make things even better moving forward.

You get to see if customers love/hate you (and how to improve it!): As a part of online measurement you are able to look at  what people are saying about a company or organization online .  This is looking at what users are saying directly AT you or what they are talking indirectly ABOUT you with everyone else.  Are they having problems with a particular product of yours? Is there something that people want to see more or less of from you? The insights you get from conversations are way different than what you can get from a survey  or traditional market research. In a survey people have time to consider and alter their answers to give you just half truths. Within online communications you’re getting the raw knee jerk reactions regarding what they think about you and how they use your product in everyday life.  ( CAVEAT: Watch out for Trolls! No matter what you do there will be someone looking to stir things up…. all I can say is DONT FEED THE TROLLS )

You Find the Unexpected: Often times its important to stick your head outside of what you’re doing to get a different perspective of what is actually happening with your company. This is especially true with Social Media. By looking at what occurs outside of your organizations’ initiatives every once and a while you may  see surprising things happening with your customers that you haven’t heard of. Perhaps they are re-purposing your product in a way that you didn’t think was important (ex: Coke and Mentos blasters) or maybe some previously unreleased news about your company has become public and is gaining an unexpected amount of traction with your customers. By learning what your customers and the public is doing ‘out there’ you’re able to adapt to things as they come up rather than let events plow you over!

In closing while a lot of discussions regarding social media surround  customer engagement and use of the tools, I think measuring your success and learning from what you’re doing online is just as important. Without knowing what you’ve achieved and what is occurring out in the wilderness that is the ‘internet’ you’re only going to continue making the same mistakes and not improve upon yourself.  With my new position in  Measurement Science I hope to be able to share some  brief tidbits  about online measurement and why its a useful part of the campaign process. Stay tuned!

Dec 09

Reviewing My 2009 Strategy

So its been exactly a year to the date of my post 2009 Strategy. To me I think its important that I revisit it as its been quite a year since I wrote that (1 year blogaversary yay! ) and it should be something I keep in mind moving forward when I set my goals and plans for 2010 … or ’010 as I like to call it.

So  here we go…..

1. Becoming More Passionate: So I think I wrote this with a bit of an expectation that I would suddenly be hit on the head and determine that I would be completely passionate and happy go lucky about a certain job or aspect of my life. Well, it didn’t happen.If you do a quick search on the net you can find a lot of articles and postings on “Finding your Passion” but from what I’m realizing is that it isn’t a fast and immediate process. I made some progress but I would say that I’m still not close enough to choosing a passion and committing myself 100% to it.

Developing passion takes a bit of work- At Social Media Mastermind

That isn’t to say that I failed at my goal, I think as time went by I re purposed it and made it more realistic. Over the year I feel I discovered I really enjoy learning and exploring topics and that I couldn’t be passionate about something that stayed constantly the same.  I also think that as a whole it has to be people related but in a more analytical sense. Reflecting back on school my favorite topics often related to how people interacted (be it Consumer Behavior, Psychology, Communications or Market Research ). Right now in my current work I’m exploring net communications and social media which may or may not be the same in the next few years. Overall I think I’ve laid out a bit more of a path for myself but there is still more work to do going forward.

2. Spending time on the right people: I think this has been the area of biggest improvement for myself , but an area that I still need to consistently work on. I made in my opinion 2 huge achievements: Setting my own boundaries and Getting out and meeting with/interacting with new people.

On Setting Boundaries: Looking backwards on 2008, a big downfall for me was not setting my own boundaries. So this meant going along with the group and not looking  out for my goals and priorities. In 2009 while this was definitely a bumpy ride ( as some of my friends can attest to) I learned to protect my own interests and refocused on friendships that were really important to me. Overall it was a pretty significant personal endeavor.

Interacting with New People: I think this is what I’m most proud and surprised by. Over the past year I’ve met a ton of new people and really pushed myself to be more outgoing. I’ve met a lot of great people ( many of them are on this list here) and really got to learn* and explore a side of business that I sort of knew about for a while but didn’t completely understand till this year. I’ve met a few great people who’ve really pushed me to be better in getting out there and improving myself. You know who you are, I really appreciate it.

One of the rainier Patio Fridays with Katie Boland and Philip Moreria (C/O Lee Dale)

The Challenge: In the latter half of 2009 I lost momentum in this area ( job search/moving up north were to blame) I definitely don’t want to see the relationships I started with people wither .There are many people I respect and admire and having lost contact with many people in the past I don’t wish for that to happen again. So moving forward with w/e path I end up taking ,  being more deliberate with meeting people  and perhaps just booking more 1 on 1 time is going to be important.

3. Taking Care of my Health: We can’t always get things 100% right? Alright so this was a fail on my part. While in some regards I was active in that if I was able to I would walk rather than take transit or drive overall the idea of moving towards less of a 1 pack didn’t exactly pan out. Well no excuses in ’010,  at minimum mornings will be work out time and when I’m able to I’m also looking to snag a gym membership to be even more serious. To put it out there my goal is to bring myself up to 160 in lean mass (I’m right now at around 150). As a secondary benefit I think it would help me gain a much better mental focus.

All in all I think for what the year was, I ended it pretty strong. The external environment could have been better but then who’s to say everything I’ve experienced would have occurred if it had been different. I plan on making a 2010 strategy coming up  (its in the works). It will probably be posted closer to New Years.

*I’ve discussed some  great events on this blog but for anyone looking for future reference 2 great places to learn if you’re a business person learning about the web and entrepreneurship are at SproutUps and Refresh Events( a calendar of  events can be found here also) .

Oct 09


So umm, first post on this new blog . Out of finally bending to the pressure of guys like Malcolm Bastien and Dan Hocking I’ve started up this blog. I’m going to be looking to bring everything from my old blog onto this site ( just for continuity) and then deliver some great and probably better content. Things are going to be gradually changing with this blog so don’t expect anything to stay exactly the same. I’m probably going to make a more definite choice on the theme and grab a few widgets to make things even better.

Overall stay tuned! This blog has a lot of life ahead of it!



Jan 09

I <3 Reddit!

So I’ve been reading Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott ( amazing book!) and have just finished the chapter on “The Net Generation as Consumers”  where in one section he spoke about companies becoming essentially friends with their target consumers.  Reflecting back to companies I’ve dealt with the news aggregator site Reddit  comes to mind. I’m a big fan of this site and have often either forwarded links from this site or shared it with my friends and I do this not only because I enjoy the content on the site but because the site creators have essentially become my friend and have befriended the rest of the website members. Here are some of the simple yet significant ways that they manage to do this:

Interacting with members outside of the site: The creators of this site not only interact with members through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter ( ex: @ kn0thing)  they have offline meetups!  I’ve met with them personally last year during their Drankkit World Tour where they went to major centers and sat down and had drinks with members ( a few pics of me at that event included)  but they even do it randomly including having dinner with a Reddit member who just asked if anyone were interested in going out for dinner.

They personalize: The Reddit alien is a big part of the personality of the website, almost every day  a new drawing of it is posted up depending on current events or project of the site. From time to time as a result of already mentioned meet ups or requests of members the Reddit Alien is redrawn or the Reddit logo even contains relevant pictures. As well the website is in a constant state of change( much like Gmail its in constant Beta)  if there are enough user requests certain aspects of the site are changed.

Not only are they creators, but they are also users: They don’t passively watch the site or attempt to moderate it , they are fully involved members. They aren’t afraid to get in there and post a comment or link and create discussions with other users. They also start side projects that encourage further member collaboration. Sometimes it can be silly such as Mr.Splashypants  but even in more serious matters such as Reddits Feed A Need campaign where users are encouraged to lend their skills and time in helping out a not for profit organization.

Overall I have a major heart on for this site and its creators. As a consumer I have a choice between Digg and Reddit  as they are essentially the same site and many times have the same links but  as Reddit has worked harder to befriend me my loyalty is pretty cemented in place . I’ve included a few pictures from Drankkit Toronto 07 , some with me included. Enjoy!  



Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian

The 2 Reddit Creators , Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian with Jenna Landry from Wired Magazine



My attempt at a "C" for Canada.... it ended up pretty lame!

My attempt at a "C" for Canada.... it ended up pretty lame!

Have any Questions/Comments? Contact me at kevin.richard@ryerson.ca or send me a twitter message.

Jan 09

Do as I say…. not as I do?

Ok, so I saw this and thought it would be something hilarious to do :

Andy Nulman, I WANT YOUR BOOK  Pow Right Between the Eyes ! :P (Kevin Richard Unit 3  350 Huron St. , Toronto Ontario M5S 2G3) 

I feel really bad for doing this after listening and reading about how there can be a loss of credibility when taking materials from outside corporations/interests on  Six Pixels of Separation  but I’m also an avid reader and as marketing is my area of interest its kind of hard to pass this up. 

So Blog post for a book….not a bad deal.  If its any good I’ll write a follow up post, if not it this will never be mentioned again. I guess I’ll rebuild my legitimacy through puting up a good blog post very soon!

Jan 09

I Throw Like a Girl, So Instead I Joined the League of Kick Ass!

So I’m still working out my schedule and regular routine having jumped into 2009 so I’ve been a bit slow on blogging   (I’m getting there!) . On Monday I attended for the first time a League of Kick Ass Business People event! While there werent any super hero’s present like in the League of Justice or anything else you would picture in a comic book it was still pretty ‘Kick Ass!’. lkbp3

Along with hearing some of the insights from  members of this elite ( or L33T) group, the theme of the night was ‘The Kickass Green Event’ talking about green business, and the Canadian environment. All in all really good speakers:

-Leslie Domenico from Green Enterprise Toronto spoke about sustainable and green business within Toronto ( big focus on local sourcing and equitable business) 

-Linda Mortsch from Environment Canada gave an intense wake up call about the state of global warming and how its going to affect our planet.

-Andy Thomson blew me away twice, first with his amazing presentation skills ( when you can tear 50+ business people from conversation to pay attention to you, thats what I call having  presence!) and after with his presentation on green homes with  the interesting idea of a green trailer park which was less trailer trash and more loft living in a forest. 

I unfortunately had to dash to another meeting I had, but  afterwards there was a presentation from Bikes without Borders which probably rocked as well, they sound like an inovative not for profit organization which I look forward to reading more about, perhaps getting involved sometime in the future(Linkage).

Overall, it was a good night even despite having to cut it short. I’m really exited to  become more involved in the LOKBP ( for more about what they are  check out here! )  this is definitely a group  that while making me feel insignificant because I’m not fully kick ass (yet!)  it also makes me want to learn and expand  myself  and  bring myself to that level.

 If you perhaps are a kick as business person who just happened to stumble upon my blog twitter @SeanMoffitt as not only is he the ‘big kahuna’ of the group , I’m sure he’d be happy to have you aboard.   The next  LOKBP event  Kick ass Design, will be happening March 4th ( so far away!) and  Sean is also begining to get together a group of Under 30 years  KBP group as well!  Pretty exciting stuff.                                          

Thats it for me, back to my chill friday night! Got any  Questions/Comments? Contact me at kevin.richard@ryerson.ca or send me a twitter message.