Heathrow

Leaving the Voce Nation

On October 6, 2014, in Social Media, by Josh Hallett
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After almost eight years I’m sad to announce that I’m leaving Voce Communications. I’ve had an amazing experience working some of the best and brightest in the industry. I’m fortunate to call many of my former co-workers good friends, and I’ll miss them dearly.

There are so many high points over my time at Voce that it’s hard to call out some over others. That said, there are two things I’m extremely proud of.

Disney Parks

Disney Parks Blog

Our work with Disney Parks and Resorts started almost eight years ago and debuted with the launch of the Disney Parks Blog over five years ago. Since then, the blog and associated efforts have become a key component of the Disney Parks digital ecosystem and a driver of true ROI. The Disney Parks Blog is consistently listed as one of the best corporate blogs and it’s only getting better.

Working with the Disney Parks team has given this Disney fan behind-the-scenes access and some amazing experiences. Nobody does events like Disney. Just as much as I’ll miss my Voce colleagues I’ll also miss the friends I’ve made at Disney.

PlayStation

PlayStation.Blog

Another massive part my career at Voce has revolved around PlayStation. When I joined Voce one of my first projects was to help design and launch the official PlayStation.Blog. We think it’s the most-read corporate blog in the world, but it’s hard to verify that.

Building on the runaway success of the PlayStation.Blog the next challenge was international expansion. For a while London was my second home as we built and launched the PlayStation EU Blog and then associated French, Italian, German and Spanish blogs. We built a global process for content creation and management. The program now spans the globe and is one of the best models of a global social initiative.

Both of these projects always made me proud to look at the output and say, “I helped build that!”

Along the way I’ve worked with some amazing friends: Mike, Dave, Chris, Christopher, Beca, Nick, Jeremy, Pete, Sean, Scott, Ashley, Heather, Andy and so many more that used to be part of the Voce family but have moved on to other things. Thank you for everything.

What’s next?

New Winter Haven Publix

Very soon I’ll start at Publix Supermarkets as their Digital Marketing Strategist. While I’m sad to leave Voce I’m going to an organization that is near and dear to my heart and beloved in our community.

People that know Publix usually say one thing, “I Love Publix!” I love it as well, and it’s one of the reasons the opportunity was too good to pass up.

More to come.

 

Magic Kingdom’s Secret Arc Reactor

On October 5, 2014, in Photography, by Josh Hallett
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24 Hours at Magic Kingdom - 2014

Seems there is a hidden connection between Marvel and the Magic Kingdom. It’s been there the entire time. You just need to look for it the right way.

 

Flickr, Good to Have You Back

On May 29, 2013, in Photography, by Josh Hallett
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Ahh, Flickr. It’s been too long. Your refresh suddenly has everybody interested again. I certainly am.

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 6.40.06 PM

Now I just need to start carrying my camera everywhere again.

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Wave Rider 15th Anniversary

On August 24, 2012, in Social Media, by Josh Hallett
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I bought the special 15th Anniversary edition Mizuno Wave Riders. I’ve been running in Wave Riders for a while, however these are a bit ‘bright’ so need to find the right time to wear them :-)

 

One More Reason Not to Use Flash: Pinterest

On August 20, 2012, in Social Media, by Josh Hallett
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Consumer brands, specifically fashion brands are seeing nice surges in traffic courtesy of Pinterest. However, I guess Tag Heuer isn’t, why? Their entire web site is in Flash so if you try to pin anything, you get this error. Whoops.

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Bradley Wiggins in Yellow

On August 17, 2012, in Photography, Tour de France, Travel, by Josh Hallett
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I had the good fortune to time a business trip to the UK/Paris to coincide with the end of the Tour de France last month. It’s the second time I’ve been at the finish. It’s an epic…and very long day. Each time I’ve arrived very early to get a position at the top of the Champs-Élysées right were the peleton makes the turn and is at their slowest point. The nice thing about the final stage is that they also complete a number of laps of the circuit so you get to see the riders more than once. This year’s race was dominated by Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins, needless to say the Team Sky fans were out in force. The wait was worth it to get photos like this:

Bradley Wiggins in Yellow - 2012 Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins - 2012 Tour de France

At the conclusion of the race all the teams do a slow lap to thank the fans allowing for the opportunity to get some up-close shots (and autographs).

Mark Cavendish - 2012 Tour de France

Peter Sagan - 2012 Tour de France

Tejay Van Garderen - 2012 Tour de France

 

We’re Not Stupid

On August 17, 2012, in Social Media, by Josh Hallett
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I jokingly posted this to Twitter last week, but it captures an underlying sentiment. Too many brands take the lowest common denominator approach to Facebook. I feel insulted when I’m asked/told to ‘Like’ something. Yes, I know how Facebook works and if I like something I will click that little link. I don’t need to be told/asked.

I’m not sure if it’s a reflection of the reality TV mindset of society, or a lack of respect from marketers.

 

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary

On May 16, 2012, in Travel, by Josh Hallett
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I was lucky enough to be in Europe last month and visit Disneyland Paris on the day of its 20th anniversary. Here are a few select shots from that night.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

It was my first time to this park. It’s always interesting to compare the overall experience and specific ride experiences to the parks in America. I have plenty of shots that I still need to process and post online. Stay tuned.

 

Ohhh Flickr

On May 16, 2012, in Photography, by Josh Hallett
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Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Plenty of discussion around Flickr recently, kicked off by Gizmodo’s in-depth ‘history’ of Flickr. Thomas Hawk also posted his detailed thoughts as a significant user and a outspoken critic of Flickr. All of these articles spurning plenty of comments and discussions across various social channels.

I agree with Thomas’ viewpoint that while there is plenty wrong, there is still plenty of good left in Flickr. As Mat pointed out in his article I too have seen the conversion of Flickr to an Instagram archive, but there are still plenty of dedicated, passionate photographers using the service. Like many of those folks I still see revenue generated from my photos on Flickr. That’s always a nice thing.

Moving forward my biggest concern is the integrity of my photo archive. I currently have over 26,000 images on the service and the thought of moving/losing them is tough to fathom.

I love Flickr through good times and bad. I hope they make it, I want them to make it. However, I’ll be spending time looking at alternatives.

 

Old School Pinterest Strategy?

On March 13, 2012, in Social Media, by Josh Hallett
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What’s your Pinterest strategy? I know some folks that have had a competitive ‘pinning’ strategy for years :-)

 

Facebook Timeline Updates: Look at the Monkey!

On March 6, 2012, in Social Media, by Josh Hallett
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There has been plenty of discussion over Facebook’s Timeline updates for brands since their announcement last week. Facebook continues to stress the ‘media’ aspect of their platform, specifically with the focus on additional ways you ‘reach’ your audience via various ‘buys’.

While I think Timeline gives brands with interesting stories and rich histories a new way of showcasing those assets it’s still just the start of the entire relationship. The forest within the trees is the interaction they can have with fans via the wall (excuse me, Timeline). Far too many brands just focus on the acquisition of likes and high-level stats rather than the longer term relationships they are building.

Also, what is the nature of the relationship? Are your fans just looking for discounts (shallow) or are they truly interested in your organization?

 

Waiting for the Gary Oldman Tom Tom Voice-Pack

On January 6, 2012, in Stuff, by Josh Hallett
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After watching this clip I’m waiting for my Gary Oldman special edition Tom Tom GPS unit.

Of course my ring-tone is this clip:

 

Curation, The Next Big Thing Since 1995

On January 5, 2012, in Social Media, by Josh Hallett
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Reading over various prediction posts about what will be ‘big’ in social media in 2012 I can’t help but chuckle a bit when people talk about curation being the next ‘thing’. Curation on the web is not new, it’s just now more accessible and packaged much better.

Curation has been around since the start of the web. Before fancy browsers like Mosaic if you visited a little site called Yahoo on your Lynx browser this is what you saw.

Reading over the initial focus of Yahoo it was curating the web. Trying to find things of interest and grouping/classifying them together in a common thread.

In January 1994, Jerry Yang and David Filo were electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford University when they created a website named “David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web”.[9] David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web was a directory of other websites, organized in a hierarchy, as opposed to a searchable index of pages

Fast forward a number of years and the self-publishing revolution of blogs comes into play. Now anybody could curate (I mean publish) content. By anybody I mean the early adopters who harnessed the power of the blog. Sure they published opinions, rants and daily journals, but they also began to meta-edit and curate.

The next steps were sites like Del.icio.us and Ma.gnolia.com (remember that one?). Bookmarking, clipping, curating, whatever you wanted to call it became even easier. Tagging provided another layer of meta-data. An initial list could now be segmented and sorted in different ways. People began to pay attention to not only what people wrote, but what they bookmarked. However, there was always an extra step involved. Bookmarking services didn’t pull in content, you had to visit each site. The list of sites was in a single place, but the content was disjointed.

Blogging and other self-publishing platforms continued to evolve. They became easier to use and more casual users began to embrace them. One of Tumblr’s core elements if the re-blog, not just linking to another page but the ability to re-use content from another user. Now curated content could be viewed in a single thread.

The evolution continued with dedicated services like Storify and Paper.li. Brand’s ears perked up when institutions like the Washington Post began to use Storify to evolve their content models and engage with users.

Of course the ‘hot’ new service today is Pinterest. Users such as my nieces love the ability to create an on-going custom view of their interests and share with their friends. In some ways I reflect back on the explosion of MySpace and the ability for basic users to customize their profile as an extension of their personalities. As much of as web design nightmare as that was it drew in users.

With Pinterest and other services the ability to curate and view content is a smooth and somewhat elegant experience. Add in the social layer and the ability to Tweet, share on Facebook, etc and you have a potent mix. That all fuels tremendous growth and interest.

However the notion that this is something new is a fallacy.

Maybe we’re reaching a tipping point for mass-adoption or curation with Pinterest, but for those of us using Twitter back in 2006, we thought the next year, or the next year would be when it really took off.

 

USS Abraham Lincoln Embark

On October 3, 2011, in Photography, Travel, by Josh Hallett
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For the next two days I’ll be taking part in the US Navy’s carrier embark program. I’ll be spending time on the USS Abraham Lincoln.

USS Abraham Lincoln

A big thanks to Jake McKee who threw my name in the mix for an invite. Look for plenty of photos after I return.

 

Flickr as Instagram Archive

On July 19, 2011, in Photography, by Josh Hallett
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This is a common sight now each time I browse my friend’s photos in Flickr. A large chunk of the photos are from Instagram. Looking below there are eight recent photos from Instagram. It’s a double-edged sword, first it’s great to see people getting back in the habit of sharing photos, but it’s an afterthought for Flickr.

Flickr as Home to Instagram

 
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