Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Time for a digital detox? Try a float at HÄLSA Spa.

How do you do a digital detox in a busy city? It can be very hard. Even when we get away from the city we still stay connected most of the time. Believe me… I know.

I have lived in Vancouver for over 20 years and have been a Digital Media Designer since before the internet even came about. With the social, visual digital world having become the main way we connect, I spend a lot of time on all the digital devices.

In addition to three monitors on my main system, I also have an iPad, two iPhones, a laptop and I am often only ‘offline’ when I go to bed. Even then, there are the ebook and articles I have saved to read later and some times I fall alseep while reading. In final video production, I can spend up to 10 hours a day for 2 weeks straight in front of multiple screens. 
If anyone knows what it is like to be connected and immersed in the digital world, I do.

At the same time, I have also practiced a great deal of meditation, studied chi-gong and tai chi, done retreats and read a lot about the positive and negative effects of the hyper-connected world on us, our brains and our wellbeing. The studies show that even the position we hold our heads in while looking down at our phones is a mild depressive state, same as if you were hanging your head in sorrow.

The rapid speed and often urgency of messaging, the ups and downs of online commenting or sharing, the frustrations of devices crapping out, or getting broken and the never ending flood of new games and social apps to try and we barely ever get the time to know what it feels like to be in our own bodies.

Many of us are always off somewhere in the web and much of the time it’s in fits and spurts that can cause the brain to remain in an anxious state, always trying to process a wide range of information that, at the end of the day, does very little to make us feel good.

A friend recommended I try it. Said it is not only a great escape for an hour but the heavy concentration of epsom salts does wonders for detoxing the body and soothing the nerves.

I booked a float and went with a reasonable excitement at trying something new.
What I didn’t anticipate was the feeling of being in the womb, or at least in my own little bubble where space and time seemed to drift away. I didn’t want to get out. 
I have been to many of the serene places that surround Vancouver, but this was different. It was like getting away from it all in the middle of the city, a beautiful, peaceful break right in the middle of everything else going on.

I’m not really sure how to describe the feeling expect to say that I felt more in my own skin and more ‘just me’ than I often do being pulled in many digital directions. It was like a check in with my heart and soul. With my heart because I could feel it and hear it as I drifted in and out of a lucid state. With my soul because it really reminded me that taking time out isn’t just a matter of putting the phone down or going to the beach. It was like an easy meditation to regroup and remember the person that is always connected, but without the connections, just the person, me.

I’ve told a few people that I know who are pretty disconnected from their core that it is well worth trying. I’m writing this to give the lovely people at HÄLSA a little cheer for providing the place to do this in the city but also to anyone who reads it to say that it is really a great way to check in with yourself. 

The feeling lasted into the next day, being more consciously aware of anything that took the peace away. And being such a unique experience with the lighting, music and cool egg-pod-like float unit, I can still recall it and kind of go back to that place easily just by thinking about it. It’s that unique that it totally stands out in my mind.

If you are even remotely overwhelmed by the ‘always on’ world, give it a try for yourself. It’s really a slice out of time for self-care. We could all use more of that. A bit less stressing through life… a little more floating along in joy and bliss. 

Here's a link directly to their site so you can see more of what it's all about. >> 

Here's a link to answer some of the questions I had before I went >>

Happy floating! :) Steve

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pillars of the online and offline communities, the fantastical #MeadowsMaze and the best quality, local-sourced food you can find... including #bacon !!

Photographed, written and shared by Steve Robinson -

Meet The Hopcotts!
It's hard to find anyone who brings more delicious, nutritional goodness and honest, hard working connection to their community than Bob Hopcott and his team at Hopcott's Premium Meats in Pitt Meadows, BC.

They are a 3rd generation family run butcher shop located on a family farm, committed to bringing quality, local, farm fresh products direct to your table. Their history, story and selection of products is well worth checking out.

This is the Hopcott Team >

Meet YVR Bloggers!

It is equally as hard to find many online communities that have brought so many incredible, original, talented and connected Vancouver voices to life online as Ricky Shetty and the YVR Bloggers.

YVR Bloggers is a passionate community of bloggers based out of Vancouver, Canada and an online hub for those who live in this beautiful city to share their more personal experiences.

YVR Bloggers is just one of Ricky's growing online communities.
This is a link to their website >

A meet and greet and an awesome selection of delicious local foods.

On Saturday, August 9, 2014 these two communities came together to celebrate the Grand Opening Day for Hopcott's Meadow Maze and celebrate 100 years of the Canadian 4-H Council.

The hungry, happy group of bloggers and their families were treated to some of Hopcott's history by Bob and several of his team. Then they were treated to a delicious selection of some of the amazing foods that are part of the products they carry.
Even the ranchers that raise Hopcott's beef were on hand.

The highlight of the 3 hour meetup was #YVRBloggers Meadows Maze Adventure!

The science and technology behind the construction of Meadow's Maze is quite fascinating and there are 3 mazes to explore depending on how much time you have. There is a short hay ride where you can learn all about the maze and some fun tidbits about corn as well.

Share buttons are below.

Check this out > LOCAL SOURCED GOODS. 

If you love what you find, send them a message online. Links are below or on their respective websites. Have a great summer!


• YVR Bloggers on Facebook
• YVR Bloggers MeetUp Group
• Ricky Shetty's DaddyBlogger Website
• Hopcott's Story from their Website
• Hopcott's on Facebook

• Hopcott's on Twitter

Friday, May 23, 2014

What Type of Agency Will Own Social Media Marketing? The hybrids.

Bissell's director of marketing dissects the battle among traditional, digital, pr shops.

Theresa Junkunc
Bissell's director of marketing Theresa Junkunc knows how difficult managing social media work can be, particularly when multiple roster shops compete for the same assignment. That's one reason why Bissell this month decided to consolidate its creative and media business at a single shop: Olson. Still, the broader industry question of what type of agency owns social media marketing—traditional creative? digital? public relations? media?—remains. Junkunc reflects on that question, social listening and how she evaluates the effectiveness of social efforts. 
So, for social media assignments, is it an open field?
When I have a couple different agencies that are working for me that would like the work, I’ve had them put together a strategy and seen how they are thinking about social and how it would work. Then you can get a feel for what they are thinking and you can see how it fits with your campaigns. It depends on what agencies you’re working with at the time. Like Olson—their roots are digital experiential and they’ve kept on top of the new way to think about social.
How has social media marketing changed in recent years?
Two years ago when you thought about social, it was Facebook and how many fans do I have. Now it’s Facebook and Twitter and engaging people. It's figuring out how to talk to people in real time and engage them. It’s not making conversation. It’s finding conversations and finding ways to get in on them.
What percentage of your media budget (projected at $30 million this year) goes toward social media efforts?
We don’t do a huge amount of ad buying on social. It’s mostly hours and that type of thing. I don’t know if it cracks more than a couple percent. Some social platforms really know a lot about people and you can really target there. It's better than other platforms for that. It's maybe four percent [of the budget], maybe two percent. 
As the social media landscape evolves, have you looked at the work you were getting and said, 'We’re not getting what we need?'
You’re always evaluating the campaigns that you work on and how you work with the agency. After every campaign you do that. It's part of the analytics process. Not only are you looking at, did that work for me but also, how did the agency evaluate that? You're making sure things are done well and that you understand what worked and didn’t [and] if the consumer was engaged or not, so that next time you have a better campaign. You're reviewing the campaign but also the agency so you can give feedback and improve based on what has happened.
Internally, what kinds of social media listening do you do?
We do that for floor care and see what people are talking about. Is it pet hair, is it dander, is it messes? Social listening is interesting because it gives you ideas for product development and what you might want to include. Consumer care can go in and seek out people who are dissatisfied and start conversations there. They can try and make people who are unhappy happy. You can insert yourself into a conversation that’s out there and make it positive.
Ultimately, who will win the battle to handle social media marketing—digital agencies, full-service shops, pr agencies? 
It's still kind of a jump ball right now. I don’t know where it will land. Eventually we’ll have a bunch of hybrid agencies that are PR/digital/social because everything is kind of converging. Agencies will change to meet the need of the clients over time.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A picture of the modern day social-visual marketing person.

Infographics are incredibly helpful when it comes to illustrating a point.
This one helps to explain very well some of what makes SocioVisual Communications a modern day marketing solution to just about anything you can imagine.
(Credits in the pic itself)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Why 'Social' Media is better as 'Soulful' Media

"There is no human achievement without inspiration, passion and the dreaming of something never before seen, heard or done."

After many years of people tweeting, pinning, posting, sharing, promoting and bringing their wares to the web, the root of what motivates people is the same as it ever was.

Things like love, appreciation, kindness, compassion, support and a bit of fun will always be more powerful than any other motivators or fear tactics that people may try.

These positive vibes can be conveyed in many ways but at their core they represent one thing: 
They serve to lift us higher.

Imagine a world where all communications were designed to inspire and lift us higher.

Here is to helping create more and more of that world every day.
Here is to a world of Soulful Social Media.

For some well written inspiration, read on...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Secret to Hiring a Savvy Social Media Manager

Learn how to avoid the hype and get serious about social media.

If you're at all familiar with the nature of marketing, you know the importance of constantly evaluating and evolving your strategy to stay competitive in your industry. Chances are you've been paying more attention to customer experience, digital data, measurement, and various forms of content marketing and promotion.

In all this, there's probably no doubt in your mind that social media should be an integral part of your marketing strategy.

But how does your company approach social media? 

Are you still designating one or two interns to just "handle it?" 
If that's the case, it's time to once again reevaluate your strategy. 

You might want to start by sending a message to your HR manager. Your next social media manager should be as familiar with business and marketing concepts as they are with Facebook and LinkedIn.

Marketing professionals leading the way in social media recently revealed some of their background experiences with content marketing expert Jay Baer, identifying the skills that are essential for the demands of today's successful social media campaigns.

Here are several insights gained from Baer's ebook, Social Pros All-Stars: Career Paths & Tips from 27 Big Company Social Media Professionals, as well as feedback from social media experts highlighted in the book: 

Great tips for more effective content marketing (video)

Todd Wheatland, world renowned author, speaker, marketing & HR pro, shares his tips for more effective content marketing.

Content marketing has exploded in popularity over the past 12 months. From its beginnings as a relatively niche practice, it has become a key component in most brands’ digital strategy.

"It doesn’t seem like very long ago that I was still having to explain what content marketing was, and now almost every marketer I encounter is producing content with zeal.

All too often these marketers dive headlong into producing a stack of content without a second thought to strategy or organisational integration – the result being that there are no results!

By failing to develop an effective approach to content marketing, these marketers cheat themselves out of the real long-term benefits of content marketing."

You can read the video transcript Q & A here:

A Vision of the Future From Those Likely to Invent It

From employment to leisure and transportation to education, tech is changing the world at a faster pace than ever before. 
(see the images below)

Already, people wear computers on their faces, robots scurry through factories and battlefields and driverless cars dot the highway that cuts through Silicon Valley. Almost two-thirds of Americans think technological change will lead to a better future, while about one-third think people’s lives will be worse as a result, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. Regardless, expect more change. In a series of interviews, which have been condensed and edited, seven people who are driving this transformation provided a glimpse into the not-too-distant future.

See the original article here >

Are You Ready to Benefit from Infographic Marketing?

Lately, infographics have taken the internet world by storm. 

It is even benefited by several types of businesses, may it be an IT company, a hotel, a restaurant, a school, a carpet cleaning company or a travel agency. 
But what is really an infographic? 
How can it benefit a business? 
What are the characteristics of an effective infographic? 
Check out the infographic.

Infographic by: annexcore

What is the optimal length for your videos marketing content? As short as possible.

Yoav Hornung is an award-winning young filmmaker and entrepreneur.
He is the co-founder and CEO of, a video production marketplace.

We’re often asked by businesses: 
“How long should my video be?”

Truth is, there are two answers for this question:
1) As short as possible
2) It depends

Obviously, both are right. 

We are in an era in which attention spans are getting shorter as we’re flooded with all sorts of content; text ads, Buzzfeed lists, photos, banners and more videos.

As there are many different sources for each, we can definitely say that in today’s world, we have to hold our consumers very tight and not let them even think about moving, not even a tiny little inch (or pixel) from our content.

Videos are tricky – for the most part, they’re popular, fun and shareable – but unlike banners, text ads and photos, in many cases it’s our audience choice whether to watch it or not.

Hitting the play button:

Doesn’t matter how awesome your product is, before hitting the play button, your audience will determine whether to play it or not by two things:
The thumbnail (that’s a whole different discussion but, you can imagine what works)

The length of the video:

Ask yourself:
In which case is it more likely that you hit the play button?

When the length shows:
A) 0:xx (less than a minute)? 

B) 1:xx? 
C) 2:xx?

You got it right. “A” is the winner, while over two minutes will be (for the most part) the big loser.

In one of Wistia’s video lengths analytics, we can see that shorter videos are better for getting people to watch the whole thing, which means — shorter videos produce more engaged audience.

That said, different videos have a different optimal length but in each one of them the rule of thumb will be   make it as short as possible.

Tutorials/Explainers - 
(45-90 sec)

There are many different types of tutorials, of various lengths. Let’s examine the most common type of videos  — mobile and Web app tutorials.

One of the goals of a tutorial is not to only to show how it works, but to show how simple it is. and today’s world, Simplicity means less time.

Less than two-minute videos work as well, but over two minutes will make the consumer feel that this video will require some extra concentration and time. And let’s face it, they are lazy.

45-90 seconds is long enough to make your crowd be interested in what your product does and get a sense of feeling how it works. don’t try to show all the features, just highlight the cool ones and make it look simple.

Creative commercials - 
(15-59 sec)

These are the videos we’re most familiar with. We first watched them on TV, in which broadcasting spots are very expensive. This brought advertisers to shorten their ads and that’s one of the main reasons why most commercials today are very short.

Some of the best ever commercials are those we use to see on the Super Bowl, where the spots are the most expensive and the average commercial stands on 30 seconds.

Creative commercials are mostly based on a clever gag, a funny story, intriguing situations and as such they are usually less than 45 seconds. Always keep in mind with videos, 59 seconds look much better than 1:00.

Crowdfunding videos - 
(Avg. 2.5 mins)

The purposes of a crowdfunding video is to create credibility around the project, therefore it usually consists of a “talking head” part in which the founder/inventor speak about the product, and another part of showing the product, design process, etc.

That’s why these videos are usually longer than commercials and tutorials; the audience is more engaged with the project in the first place and it’s looking to learn more into depth about it. In a crowdfunding project page, there’s a lot of text, so the video is the more preferable way to learn about it.

One minute videos are usually too short while five-minute videos are too long, even for the engaged audience.

An optimal length of a crowdfunding video would be aroundtwo to three minutes.

Testimonials/Talking heads - (60-119 sec)

This is a very informative kind of video format, you want to show your customers talking about your product and founders talking about the company. These videos are usually not the creative kind of videos, and as such, you usually watch them when you really want to learn more about a certain company since you have to listen more than watch.

In these cases, there are no rules, and the video can be even four to five minutes long.


If you do want to use this kind of video format for marketing purposes, you wouldn’t want the video to last more than two minutes. Try get three to four different customers talking shortly about your product – it’s always better than one that talks for two minutes. The same idea goes for company founders etc.

Whenever you decide to make a video, keep in mind to make it as short as possible. Focus on content condensation and SEO efforts and you just might reduce your production costs.