Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coolest Places Around - Urbanistic Tea and Bike

One of the things I really enjoy doing on my weekends is cruising around town and trying new indie coffee shops. After years of Suburban Starbucks, now is my time to live a little.

I have my favorites around- My top three would be, in no particular order:

Kaladi Bros. Coffee on Evans and Gilpin
Cafe Europa on Pennsylvania and Bayaud
Paris on the Platte on Platte St between 15th and the pedestrian bridge over I-25.

Other favorites include Stella's Coffee Haus on Old South Pearl. Decent drinks, kind of nice atmosphere, but tends to be a little crowded. Another runner-up would be the Dazbog Coffee on 17th and Downing (chain, yes. But awesome coffee). I actually did a Summer internship for Lifescape Associates up the street from this place, the Summer BEFORE it went in, so I was forced to drink Starbucks. Common Grounds on 32nd and Lowell and The Tattered Cover Coffee Shop deserve mention as well.

I definitely like riding my homely old Diamondback over to Kaladi or Stella's to get something on Saturday mornings. There are cool bike shop's right by each of them as well, so it's fun to go get some tea and look at the bike's I can't afford.

But at long last someone has come up with the AMAZING idea of combining the two.

I present to you, my humble followers:
Urbanistic Tea and Bike

This place is the combination of 2 of my top 3 loves; Bikes and Tea.

I know.

Take a minute to breath.

This place, while not serving tea, has an incredible selection of teas too choose from. Rare stuff. Exotic stuff.

The thing that I really love is you walk into this tiny place, and you basically have 3 options of where to look- the wall displaying bike parts, the wall displaying teas, or the stand where the owner, Ethan, is working on some bike up on the stand.

That's it.

Seriously, how cool is that?

It's on Lowell just down from the intersection at 32nd (right across Lowell from the Pizza place in Highlands Square).

Go check it out. I'll be doing an interview with Ethan soon (hopefully this weekend) with more pics and more info, but trust me; this place is awesome.

Urbanistic's Blog
Kaladi Bros. Coffee
Stella's Coffee Haus

Monday, April 27, 2009

Denver Gardening Examiner: City vegetable garden tips for Denver

I just read this article that I found via Twitter. I think it's worth noting what gardening you can do in a city setting, especially since I grew up in the 'burbs and I did go to school to learn Landscape Architecture.

Adding a garden to a city property actually tends to add a lot of value.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Denver Gardening Examiner: City vegetable garden tips for Denver

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Friday, April 24, 2009

My Favorite Twitter Applications

I know I go over this stuff really fast in class, so I wanted to put these down in one spot where they would be easy to find. So without further adieu...

1. TweetDeck.

TweetDeck puts everything in 1 spot for you. It defaults with a column for a feed from all the people you are following, a column for your @replies, a column for you Direct Messages, and a column for you Facebook Friends' Status. You can also shorten URLs (handy) and it has a TwitPic plugin (see below).

I like it mostly because using to do this can be a total drag. Nothing like a celebrity plastering their mug all over a site to really slow it down. Thanks guys.

It is a download, but I'd highly recommend it. It also minimizes to you toolbar so you can leave it up without giving away (to your boss-types) that you are on Twitter.

2. TwitterGrader.

Knowing where you stand is the only way to know where you're going. Twitter Grader is a website that allows you to put in any Twitter username and see where you fall on their scale. As of this post I'm ranked somewhere in the 60k's. Not bad, but not spectacular. That's out of 2 million TwitterGrader users, by the way.

The really cool feature of this site is to view the Twitter Elite (top right-ish tab) which will show the top 50 worldwide users. Here's a free tip- FOLLOW THEM. Simply following the top users in the Twitter Elite section, and some of the top users by location will boost your follower count. Which is a good place to start (more on when to knock that technique off later).

3. TwitPic.

So you want to tweet some pictures, eh? Go to TwitPic and you can upload a picture, write a little something about it, and tweet it to the world. Very cool.

4. TwitterCounter.

A kind of baby version of analytics for your follower count. Not a big application except to see where you are and where you are predicted to go, but kind of neat. It tends to be a little slow though, but worth knowing about.

Give them a shot and let me know what you think.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Linking Twitter to Facebook and Blogger...

This is super easy and I get this question a lot in my classes, so here you all go. Now I can just say "read my blog."

So you have a blog, a LinkedIn account, a Facebook page, and you’re tweeting away. You’re spending some time each week to update each one, and you start to think that there has to be an easier way to take care of everything at once.

Twitter’s tiny little 140 character tweets can show up in a lot of places, which is a fantastic way to get noticed.

First, we will show you how to link Twitter to your blog and to Facebook.

Go to your Twitter account and sign in. At the bottom of the screen, you will see a link named “Apps.” Clicking here will lead you to this page:

You can scroll through the list and pick some that sound interesting to you, but for now we are going to stick to the “Widgets” application.

Once that is open, select the Facebook tab and click “continue” in the bottom right corner.

Click on the “Install Twitter in Facebook” button in the middle of the page.

Click “Allow,” and enter your Twitter login and password. Now anything you text to your Twitter account will be displayed as your Facebook status. Two birds with one digital stone.

Go back to the Apps link on Twitter. This time, click on the “Blogger” link, and then click “Continue” at the bottom to navigate here:

You can tweak the settings as much as you’d like, then click the “Add to Blogger” button. It will ask you to sign in to your account, much like Facebook.

Click the “Add Widget” button and you are up and running. This link brings you to a page that will let you finesse your blog’s layout. Spend some time here, as this will likely be the place a prospective client will end up on, and you want them to get a good idea of who you are and what you do.

Click “Save” when you’re all done.

If you need to get back to that page, it is the “Page Elements” tab under the “Layout” tab.

Hope that helps, leave a comment if you have any questions.


Twitter Apps
Facebook Apps

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SEO, SMO, and why you shouldn't care

So I'm assuming that most people have a general idea of what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is, and the basic concepts of how to use it.

For those of you who don't know, SEO is a tactic that a company or individual will use when building a website to ensure the site shows up in Google results. Which is good.

SMO is Social Media Optimization, which is a little different, but basically the same idea; you want to show up in Social Media results easily.

I do a lot of consulting for Realtors and other small businesses, and the thing they always want to know is, "how can we increase our SEO?"

And I always say, "It's not all about your Google standing!"

The most difficult part of what I do is not explaining how to Tweet or how to link everything together, although that is usually what people are most interested in at first (probably because they think it will help their SEO). The most difficult thing is trying to help people wrap their heads around the concept that "Push Marketing" just doesn't work anymore.

The power is no longer in the hands of the marketer like it was in the 50's, or even the hands of the channel like it was in the 80's and 90's. It's in the hands of the consumer. The consumer is all knowing, all powerful, and they are all talking to each other.

This always scares the people in my classes, but it's not a bad thing. This will make the products higher quality because the poorer quality products will be ripped apart in the blogosphere. Good.

Companies and Marketers need to understand that they are no longer able to put a spin on things that make them look new and shiny. They need to engage in a conversation with their consumers, and trust that the loss of control will result in the gain of momentum.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Social Media for Small Business!

Our 1st SocMed class is coming up!

Gimme a shout for details.

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Monday, April 13, 2009


I am using Twitter. A LOT. It's really awesome. The thing that is hard to get across to people, however, is that it can be a really useful tool for doing business.

If you spend any decent amount of time on there, you will start to be able to follow other people's conversations. The thing that I like about this, rather then say Facebook or a blog, is that the conversations show up to anyone following you; in some cases, this can be thousands of people.

I follow a lot of nerdy/tech people, and I have learned a ton by following their conversations and clicking on the links they drop. Imagine sitting in on a dinner with 10 of the most successful, smart people you can imagine; that's Twitter. Kind of.

I use TweetDeck, and it's pretty cool. I have heard a lot about seesmic which is a little more "Mac-ish" if that makes any sense. TweetDeck can be a little finicky, but the new version is pretty good. It has a good integration with TwitPic that I like.

TweetDeck allows you to view a good feed of what's going on with the people you are following, and allows you to see your Friend updates on Facebook without signing on (there's always a danger of that guy you don't really like all that much chatting with you. I hate that).

It's easy to use, it's free, and it links to everything. I'm sure you will all see this blog posted in like 3 or 4 places because of good ole Twitter.

Until next time.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Social Media 101

I am getting a lot of questions about social media lately. You know, just because I wear box-frame glasses and am skinny doesn't mean that I'm a computer nerd. Even though I kind of am. And so what that I do know what I'm doing with computers and junk.

Anyway. Social media is the fancy term given to the hugely growing phenomenon of websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all that fun/exciting stuff. You may have heard the term "Web 2.0" for it. Web 2.0 simply means user-created sites, like a blog that people can comment on, or a MySpace page, or your Facebook page. The sites where all the coding is already done for you.

I first heard about blogging in high school about 7 years ago. I signed up for Facebook in 2005, but canceled my account with the message "Zuckerberg is a sellout" when they opened it up to the public instead of just college students. It's all great fun, but what I keep hearing when I am talking to people about this stuff is "Who cares?"

Excellent question. The short answer is nobody. And everybody.

When I first heard about Twitter I thought it was the dumbest thing imagineable. I remember thinking, "Who cares what I'm wearing right now? Or that I'm mowing the lawn? Seriously?"

And the answer is nobody. Nobody cares if your haven't showered yet. Or what mood you're in.

But what I have come to realize is that there is a huge power in these little updates.

In the past 3 or 4 jobs I have had, I spent a lot of time texting while I was working. In fact, everyone did. You have a lull, and you text your friend to say hi. They text back while your busy, and you answer them an hour later, but the conversation is still going, regardless of what else is going on. It brings continuity to background noise.

I think of Twitter as the same sort of thing. The thing that got me really hooked was that you can text your tweets, and that can link to your Facebook page as a status update. So say you are going into a meeting, or closing a sale with a client. You text "Closing another one, it's been a great week!" and all of a sudden all your friends, followers, and possible future clients can see that your busy and doing business. Powerful.

There are really countless possibilities here. I talked to a Realtor in Chicago a couple weeks ago who tweeted everything from quotes to stats to links to tax and mortgage information. Smart.

Add into that the power to hit your blog, your Facebook, and all your Twitter followers from a 5 second text message on the run. Man, this is really damn cool.

Now I'm not saying I know everything there is to know, but I do know a thing or two about how and why you should spend a little time to get onto these sites. And use them. Twitter especially requires minimal maintenance.

And hell, it's a blast.

So join in the conversation. I have learned a ton already, and this stuff is onlt getting bigger. Facebook hit its 200 MILLIONTH user last week for cryin' out loud.

And on that note, follow me on Twitter!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Some interesting things...

So a friend (of a friend, shout out to weddinggirl) just moved into a pretty cool neighborhood that I haven't spent a lot of time in. It's called the Cole Neighborhood, and its just east of the notorious Five Points neighborhood in Denver. Now, we have been hearing for a while that Five Points was an up and coming area. Which I agree. Being from the suburbs, I really like the grittiness of neighborhoods like Baker and Highlands East.

So Cole is really nifty as well. Little boutiques with hand done, spray-painted signs. Stores selling "Zappos y Boots." It's like Colfax when Colfax was a little scary. In a good way.

The sub-culture group has always been the catalyst of some cool stuff going down, in my opinion. Haight is San Fran, the Bowery and the Village in NYC. Even SoHo was a hell hole not too long ago.

And while I think Denver is a little... well, a LOT less edgy then San Fran or New York, it has it's moments. The neighborhoods that have that eclectic sub-culture tend to have a more active nightlife, more active foot traffic. How many 20 somethings do YOU know living in Cap Hill, for example?

So watch for Cole, I think it's rad. I guess it will take a while to see if it is going to be the next Highlands, but for now, it's a cool place to just hand around.

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Friday, April 3, 2009