Carmelo Anthony Glazed Donut Meme

In 2013, Carmelo Anthony responded to a fan crudely bashing him for not having a championship ring. Melo's response:

"I didn't ask for your glazed donut face ass to root for me anyway!!!!"

Basketball Twitter called for a visual representation of this meme.

melo-donutpmsf8.gif

Created in After Effects, this photo was retweeted thousands of times and featured on sports blogs including SI.com, Bleacher Report and SB Nation.

Whip Watches 50 Shades Darker in a Trench Coat

The release of 50 Shades Darker was a hot topic on Chicago's #1 morning show, Eric & Kathy. To prepare for the next day's on-air review, I followed newsman "Whip" — who donned a trench coat — to the theater. I then scurried to the exit before the movie could start (Whip stayed, obviously).

Custom Cinemagraphs

After seeing ads for cinemagraph apps that cost several hundred dollars a year, I set out to reverse engineer the process and create it manually in Photoshop.

This video/GIF hybrids allows the creator to freeze any part of a video, making for a mesmerizing alt-reality that adds another dimension to visual content.
(Note: These loop endlessly in HD on social platforms)

A Day with a Nikon

In September 2014, my friend lent me his Nikon D300. Having never used a manual camera before, I set out for the lakefront to figure out what these aperture, shutter speed and ISO things were all about. Results below:

1st Attempt at 3D Animation

I've found a lot of fascinating 3D artists on Instagram and have always wanted to know how they accomplish what, to me, seems like magic. After some quick research, I landed on the free and open-source 3D computer graphics software called Blender. A couple of hours later and this happened:

Social Media Managers Don't Just Post

One of the hallmark misconceptions of what to look for when hiring a Social Media Manager for your organization is that "anybody can do it". We all know how to use social media, right? So… why not just add the responsibility to your Marketing Assistant's role. Or better yet, hand it off to the receptionist to do in between the influx of phone calls and scheduling. Right?

The above approach is precisely why so many brands fail to leverage their company's digital footprint. Let's walk through some of the technical responsibilities of a Social Media Manager that should be included in the desired qualifications. (This is far from an exhaustive list)

CONTENT DIMENSIONS
No two social platforms are the same. A video sized for Facebook will appear distorted on Instagram and vice versa. Heck, even a video created for Instagram won't look right if it's then posted as an Instagram story. 

A true social media manager needs to be diligent in researching optimum dimensions, resolution, video length, etc for any given post. And this is no small task. Just take a look at this sponsored post by WGN. The video is distorted and the most common comment on the otherwise tasty content is "FIX YOUR SIZE RATIO". Not only is the video ugly, it makes viewers question whether or not WGN is a trusted news source if it can't even upload a video correctly (no disrespect to WGN, I think they do a fantastic job overall).

VARIETY of FORMS
When we talk about variety of content for social media, we usually focus on subject matter. Beyond that, we might mention different forms of content, namely: Photo, video and audio. And that's all well and good. But are these basic combinations going to set you apart from the rest? Here's a thought; do something that your average social media user/manager can't: Make a cinemagraph, utilize special effects or bust out the green screen. 

Our goal is to raise eyebrows and give people something to share. Sometimes, your subject matter is enough to do that. But sometimes the content well runs dry and the aforementioned techniques can make an otherwise trivial idea rise above.

SPEED
We live in a time of memes, trending topics and news flashes. What do all of these things have in common? They are time-based. Memes get played out, trending topics get replaced and news is, well… news.

An effective social media manager has the ability to generate content that rises to the top of any one of these categories within the window of time it takes to catch  the wave.

WRITING and GRAMMAR
When brands communicate improperly, it follows that their products function improperly. That's how the audience perceives it, at least.

To be a strong copywriter, one must also bear the creative flexibility to assume another identity's voice. ie: the brand's.

A GOOD EYE and TRIGGER FINGER

"Sometimes in life, you have to hit send." This is a motto I've lived by since I started running the NBA on ESPN Facebook page years ago. As a creative type, I err on the side of perfectionism. The things I make represent me to some degree. That's great for learning your craft and testing its limits. But when it comes to social, one must be able to fit all the years of skills into a one hour session and whip up something that brings them 95% of the way to perfect. Then, hit send. In a sea of content, there's no time to put agency level creative into every post. It probably won't change the bottom line and from my experience, audiences are more endeared by a brand that seems human.