Symbols Moving up the Semiotic Totem Pole

It’s funny to think that @ one point no one really used the @ symbol except bookkeepers.  It’s even funnier to think about if any other symbols have changed their meaning over time, even close to the respect that the @ symbol has. I suppose the closest would be the applauded use of emoticons (although emojis may have put the colon back into organizing sentences rather than being the eyes of the emotional typist.)

It started in Latin (it’s presumed by some) as representing “at” or “toward.” Then was put on the typewriter in it’s creation and eventually chosen by electrical engineer Ray Tomlinson as the great preposition to email.

Ray Tomlinson, Twitter, Email, History

After all that – the man without a Twitter handle – Ray Tomlinson.

By now we all associate the @ symbol with Twitter and/or our connector in our email addresses. Now the MOMA has taken this @ popularity a step further, “acquiring” the symbol as a representation of culture. (Art people!) Stating that ownership now goes well beyond the physical acquisition – some things belong to everyone and no one at all at the same time.

Thinking about @ with Twitter brings about the newfound popularity and change for the great pound symbol! #alwaysputsomethingwittyhere So much so the truly “hip” (heavy sarcasm here) even say in conversation, “I’m so happy! Hashtag dying!”*

What do you think of the @ symbol’s movement throughout the centuries? Has this rising star reached its peak or is it destined for even more greatness in decades to come? What other symbol do you see getting a newfound fame in the semiotic world?

Let us know @creativedept

 

*If you do this, stop it. #seriously

 

 

About Christina Pfeffer

Christina attended the University of Cincinnati where she majored in Communications (with a focus in Mass Media and Rhetoric) and minored in Fine Arts and Art History. She worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Institutional Advancement where she managed volunteers and fundraisers, until jumping ship to advertising.

Cincinnati Reds Second in League and In Social Media

Marketing, SM, Facebook, Reds

Lisa Braun, the Reds director of digital media, shows off the Face of MLB bracket before a game with winner Joey Votto.

The Reds swept the Mets this week and the fans are sure to know about it. With over 658,000 likes on Facebook, over 205,000 Twitter followers (not to mention Brandon Phillips’ 824,000+ followers), and over 33,000 Instagram followers the Cincinnati Reds are ranked second in the MLB’s 30 teams for fan engagement through Facebook.

This not only helps build fan excitement, but they hope it will increase sales of tickets and merchandise overall. The kind of direct involvement the Reds have with their fan base – putting Instagram images on the big screen at games, and bobblehead giveaways – keeps fans enthusiasm high, and ideally will open their wallets – game attendance isn’t something we’re number one at (17th actually…).

Regardless of ticket sales though, first baseman Joey Votto landed the title “Face of the MLB” just a few months ago. Winning out over big names like Mike Kemp and Derek Jeter. Maybe I’m biased (of course I am) but I think maybe Votto’s actual face might have something to do with the results? Lets hope this season brings more of our virtual fans to the stands.

Cincinnati, Social Media, Votto, Baseball, MLB, Twitter

Prettiest Face of the MLB?

About Christina Pfeffer

Christina attended the University of Cincinnati where she majored in Communications (with a focus in Mass Media and Rhetoric) and minored in Fine Arts and Art History. She worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Institutional Advancement where she managed volunteers and fundraisers, until jumping ship to advertising.

Newsweek Changes the Online Magazine

Angry luddites attacking the presses; foreshadowing civilizations reaction to new technology for the rest of time.

Newsweek launched its online magazine after closing the presses on the print version late last year, and it’s beautiful. With the help of digital agency, Huge (known for their great work with HBO GO, and the CNN site re-haul) they have made their site achieve something that I previously had thought to have gone away. News is fast and ever changing, but this weekly magazine is staying weekly; only to be updated every Wednesday. Newsweek will deliver the same in-depth coverage and compelling stories, but with a more editorial presence than its online companions.

newsweek, online magazine, NYTimes

Incredibly, the site gives an intimate feeling that makes you want to stay there. It makes you want to read the 3,000 word articles. All of them. Not just skim through some bullet points. And being aware of it’s semi-static nature gives it the stable quality we value in print, so you can go back and finish or pick up where you left off again and again (for 7 days at least).

I wonder if any others will follow suit with this plan or if it will be ultimately successful for them. I have to admit I still didn’t pay for a subscription.

T Magazine, NYTimes, Media

Initially, the magi-site (yea I just made that up. copywrited.) that crossed my mind as most similar was for T Magazine; the Times was also behind this digital masterpiece from December. Which was actually a huge influence on what Newsweek hoped to accomplish with their site, but on a weekly basis. What does this say for print media, if anything? What does this do to the digital landscape? Even the guy who bought the magazine is skeptical. What does this mean for long format writing in the digital world? Perhaps we aren’t just moving towards 140 characters and tagging images.

I applaud it. And can’t wait to settle in with my laptop (No I don’t have a tablet. Shocking I’m sure.) tonight for a good read.

 

About Christina Pfeffer

Christina attended the University of Cincinnati where she majored in Communications (with a focus in Mass Media and Rhetoric) and minored in Fine Arts and Art History. She worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Institutional Advancement where she managed volunteers and fundraisers, until jumping ship to advertising.

Fast Friends

Budweiser has created a cup that upon cheering with friends, acquaintances, randoms at the bar, you send friend requests to each other on Facebook; so instead of clicking, you can now “clink” a friend request. Thus successfully (I guess) taking out the creepy lurking portion of going out and meeting new people. No need to feel like a creep the next day tracking down “Geoff” (Or was it “Jeff”?!) you’ve already sent friend requests so you can safely figure out whatever persona they’ve created for you on the social networking site.

Is this good for budweiser though? Beyond the initial purchase? I think I would refill my cup with Sierra Nevada, or Stella depending on my mood. Budweiser is generally reserved for cookouts and ballgames. With people I already know.

How I cheers.

There is a QR code that links to the Budweiser app and your facebook on the bottom (seems like that could get messy after a few beers?). But again, a Budweiser app? I don’t see a need for that personally, but maybe I’m wrong. I’ll have to wait until it’s in the US.

It’s only in Brazil right now. When it gets here I’m sure we’ll all want one the same way we want a Twilight novelty cup from the Cineplex. I’ll use it that night, get annoyed I have to remember to take it home and then throw it in a cabinet with all the other “intensely needed collectibles” I can’t bring myself to relinquish until I move again.

About Christina Pfeffer

Christina attended the University of Cincinnati where she majored in Communications (with a focus in Mass Media and Rhetoric) and minored in Fine Arts and Art History. She worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Institutional Advancement where she managed volunteers and fundraisers, until jumping ship to advertising.

10 Common Mistakes of Organizations

Nice typography! Makes it sting way less. Source: http://www.fuelyourwriting.com/files/man_oops.jpg

Nice typography! Makes it sting way less.
Source: http://www.fuelyourwriting.com/files/man_oops.jpg

Common Mistakes

Mistakes happen, but you live and you learn. Or others learn for you and they pass on the information so you don’t have to make the same mistakes. Here is one of those times.

10 Common mistakes of organizations:

1. Blurred Vision
A clear idea of what the company is and should be is crucial. Making sure people know the directions expected prevent mistakes like when Reebok started making boats. Not exactly a linear move.

2. Split Personality
Making sure everyone is on this shared vision is just as important. Having multiple trajectories makes for stalled decisions and slowed productivity.

3. Decision Constipation
Make sure everyone knows who’s making what decisions. Otherwise, no one’s making any.

4. Structural Sclerosis
Organizational structure can be helpful or hurtful in decision making. Like the rental-car company in Europe that was organized by country – doesn’t really bode for seamless service to people crossing borders.

5. Process Paralysis
Keeping key decisions in mind when going through processes prevent unnecessary obstacles in results.

6. Data Dysfunction
Making sure the information needed to those in need is clear and relevant. Sending entire documents to answer simple questions can be cause for slow productivity and often confusion.

7. Misaligned Incentives
Make sure your incentives reinforce good decisions – look back at Wall Street’s 2008 mistakes!

8. Talent Deficiency
Making sure the right people are on the job and in the right job – seems pretty straight forward, but not always so obvious.

9. Behavior Breakdown
Leaders can sometimes unintentionally undermine decision making; if communications aren’t clear it can lead to undesired actions and unintended results.

10. Culture Collapse
If employees don’t know the company identity and forward plan it can lead to a dysfunctional company culture and decisions won’t be made in a timely manner.

The general theme here is communication: making sure all in the company are on the same page with their personal goals and responsibilities, how the company is organized, and what the company identity and mission is. Being misguided on any of these levels can lead to impasses that hurt not just the task at hand but ultimately the productivity of the whole company (ripple effect anyone?).

How do you plan to prevent these problems? Or better yet how are you doing that already?

source: http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/decision-diseases-10-common-ailments.aspx

About Christina Pfeffer

Christina attended the University of Cincinnati where she majored in Communications (with a focus in Mass Media and Rhetoric) and minored in Fine Arts and Art History. She worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Institutional Advancement where she managed volunteers and fundraisers, until jumping ship to advertising.