Thursday, September 20, 2012

Now he thinks he's a "Reviewer"

Kids and technology are an interesting combination. It's no secret that Apple products like the iPad and iPod touch are so dead easy to use that "even a baby can figure it out". Evidence of that fact happened right here in the Marek house. Greg has generously and graciously allowed the boys to play with the iPod touch, and his iPad when they were both very young. It took them no time at all to learn Temple Run, Where's my Water, and all the other popular kid games. They know exactly how to use the touchscreen and navigate the UI. Joey is just learning to read, but has known which app to launch and how to play his games for some time now. He's got a better TR score than I do, that's for sure. They fight over the iPad, and prefer it over the Nintendo system. Christopher could be on it the entire day if we let him...

The day Chris discovered YouTube was the day an entire new world opened up for him. He enjoys watching Batman, Star Wars, Power Rangers and similar videos, movie trailers, and episodes from the TV shows. He is very skilled with the search functions, and even grasps the concepts of key words to help him find what he's looking for. I remember him asking me how to spell "Lightsaber" because he was looking for a particular video clip from a Star Wars movie. He found it, and, interestingly enough, he found many other videos relating to Lightsaber, and a big series of a teenager doing a review of his lightsaber collection. Chris must have watched it 4000 times. I've witnessed Chris copying this many times around the house. He would gather up all of his Lightsabers, and bring them to a room where none of us were at the time, and would literally begin a "review"...but with no camera. He has "filmed reviews" of his DVD Collection, his Star Wars Books, and his various toy collections. There have been a few times where he's put the iPod in front of him and actually shot. Sometimes he's in frame and other times not. When the kids get a new toy, the first thing they do is say "let's shoot a review"...they even ask if they can keep the "original packaging" so they can unbox while doing the review. CRAZY. (note:  I have to be really careful, and right on top of what they are watching, because there is the occasional inappropriate video with language kids should not say or repeat. We've blocked a lot of videos we didn't want them to see.)

A couple of nights ago, Chris decided to use the iPad and review Anakin's Lightsaber for his "YouTube Fans". He was really proud of this video. Even with the pause to go get the vitamins I wanted him to have, and the loud chewing of the vitamins (UGH), and even with his little brother video-bomb at the end, he was super proud of it.

When I picked him up from school, I said "Hey Chris, I posted your video to YouTube!". His eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. He said "YOU DID???" " How many people "thumbed-up'd" it???"... The unexpected thing for me was that he did NOT want to watch it on my Mac. He wanted to watch it on YouTube on the iPad the way he watches all of his other favorite videos. He picked up the iPad and said "Mom, what did you name the video"? I told him, and then he searched for it, found it, and watched it. Laughing and laughing and laughing.

I have a feeling we will be seeing more and more video reviews of anything they can get their hands on. Even Joey is getting in on the action, and I have a few of his to post too!  Stay tuned, YouTube fans!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

#FirstDayofSchool 2012

A Gorilla and a First-Grader :)

It's here! It's here! It's finally here! The day we've anxiously awaited as parents...the day our oldest son takes the bus to school for the very first time as he enters first grade! Christopher has been pretty excited for today...but then last night I noticed he seemed pretty subdued. Lots of questions, a bit anxious, and excited all at the same time. 

We were surprised when he told us last night that we didn't need to come to the bus stop, and that he did not want us to wait there with him! He really wanted to go it alone. Of course that was NOT happening! I said it would not be the first day of school if I weren't there embarrassing him at the bus stop! The bus came, the driver was nice and introduced himself. We turned, looked at Chris, gave him a big kiss and said "Have a great day!!!"....and for just one little split second I could see a bit of hesitation and uncertainty....and then on he went, found a seat, and started chatting with the little boy next to him. It was such a great moment!!!

Joe waiting with Chris at the bus stop!

His backback had a folder and in it were papers that came home with parents, and papers that needed to be returned to school. Several of the worksheets were on the subject of how he was feeling on this first day of school. Here is what he had to say: nervous and happy. Just as I figured. But, overall, he said he loved school and made some new friends. He likes staying after school for the YMCA program too. So good.

We were excited for Joey too! He is in Pre-K and started in the Gorilla's Classroom today. We were so happy for him to be re-united with some of his good buddies who had gone to different camps and places for the summer. This was the first year Joey had to bring in specific school supplies, and he came home and told us that he is learning to read and write!! He seemed very excited about that and so are we!!

All in all, the first day of school 2012 was one to remember, and a very happy day! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Essie Klout

Gotta say, having a Klout profile, and a little bit of "influence" (meaning I tweet about nail polish, a lot!) in the topics of beauty and style has definitely worked to my advantage this year! I use the term influence loosely, because you can influence your influence pretty easily, so one never really knows how authentically a profile reflects true influence.

I have been a bit skeptical about Klout since it first emerged as a site that measures and rates a persons' influence in certain topics. While none of us (myself and friends who are also in the Social Media biz) really understand the algorithm behind how Klout is calculated, it certainly has led to some pretty good perks! Perks are items that are awarded to you by Brands that are using Klout as a means of WOM and social marketing.

This year, I've wracked up the Klout in Essie Nail Polish. I have been a HUGE fan of Essie for many years, and am thrilled that they are so active with Klout, and give away perks to influencers. I've received a full-sized bottle of their nail polish from the Summer Collection, Luxe Effects, and Mirror Metallics collections. I get to try all the latest looks, at no cost to me. Pretty cool.
Essie Klout from L to R: Mirror Metallics, Summer 2012, and LuxeEffects

Other Klout I have received since joining includes RoC anti-stress and anti-aging cream, RedBulletin Magazine from Red Bull, a super-sized club package filled with Trident Layers gum, and some exclusive samples of iced green tea from Lipton. I have a free Shutterfly photo book waiting for me, and I recently claimed a perk for Refreshers from Starbucks. Can't wait for those to arrive! 

Top-shelf brands are using Klout to extend their reach with consumers, and to use the WOM of influencers to carry great sentiment about products. Not a bad approach, and I was not even asked to tweet, post, or write a review from any of them. No strings attached. Just enjoy the products!


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