STATE OF AMERICA
Looking For A Date? Try These Cities – If you’re wondering where your best chances are for finding someone single and of the opposite sex, Jed Kolko – chief economist at residential real estate website Trulia – has some helpful advice for you. Kolko sifted through data sets from the most recent 2010 census and hopes the following insights will help you on your search for love. When it comes to living alone men outnumber women in cites like Las Vegas; Honolulu; Palm Bay, FL; and San Jose, CA. Meanwhile, women most outnumber men in Bethesda, MD; Boston; New York; and Raleigh, NC. The determining factor seems to be the labor market. Men tend to settle near downtown areas or in recently redeveloped neighborhoods in areas that have a higher proportion of technology, manufacturing and construction jobs. Meanwhile, women outnumber men in places with more jobs in professional services and cluster in bigger cities. Nine out of 10 metros with the highest ratio of women to men are in the east, with the big three being Boston, New York, and Washington, DC. Click here to read more about the findings.
BRAVE NEW CONSUMER
Uncertainty, Fear And Other Bragging Rights – Extreme obstacle challenges like Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Spartan Race have recently grown into a $150 million-plus industry. People pay between $95 to $200 to participate in challenges that can be up to 12-miles of obstacles that that everything from mud, ice baths, electrical shocks and barbed wires. If you’re wondering what has gotten into people, the answer could be linked to the economy. There’s an increasing sense of uncertainty as people battle debts and look for jobs, and Tough Mudder CEO WIll Dean explains that a lot of people tell him they signed up because “training for Tough Mudder is the one thing in their lives they feel they have control over.” In addition to a sense of a control, there is also a shift in priorities where consumers are now viewing experiences as the new luxury good. In post-financial crisis America, people get a bigger status boost by bragging about overcoming challenges than they would by bragging about overly materialistic things like a fancy new watch or outfit. Social currency is definitely another driving factor, since Tough Mudder has over 3 million Facebook Likes and social media is peppered with pictures of gloating participants. These obstacle courses feel dangerous and exciting like Fight Club. “But this is Tough Club, ” says official Tough Mudder announcer Sean Corvelle. “And our first rule of Tough Club is we do talk about it.”
Social Ads Join The Blackout Bandwagon – When the electricity went out during this month’s Super Bowl, Oreo was quick to put out a power outage-related Twitter ad. The image was of an Oreo sitting in the shadows and the tagline read, “You can still dunk in the dark.” Oreo wasn’t the only company to jump on board the blackout bandwagon on social media. Calvin Klein and Walgreens joined the conversation, and Tide tweeted an image with copy that read, “We can’t get your blackout but we can get your stains out.” According to Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) it took four minutes after the lights went out for the first Twitter advertiser to bid on “power outage” as a search term. Although there can be no doubting the power, impact, and revolutionary empowerment of social media, – the only true difference between “social” and traditional media is the immediacy and potential to react to the audience. These brands succeeded in having a social media presence agile enough to quickly respond and benefited from inserting themselves into real-time cultural conversations.
Six-Second Stories – Twitter has become mainstream enough for people to no longer balk at the idea of communicating in short bursts of 140 characters or less. It makes sense that the next communication game changer also comes from Twitter in the form of their recently launched Vine app that allows people to record and share short 6-second videos. According to SimplyMeasured, a social media analytics company, Vine users shared 113,897 videos on Twitter on Saturday and Sunday, or 2,324 videos every hour. Much of that was due to a combination of three big events: the Grammys, New York Fashion Week and the snowstorm that hit the Northeast. That’s not quite as jaw-dropping as the 1.3 million photos that Instagram users shared during Hurricane Sandy, but it’s pretty impressive considering that Vine has been around for less than three weeks. It’s also worth noting that these stats don’t take into account the number of pictures that were posted within Vine, but not shared out to Twitter.
ON THE RADAR
Read This Book: Jonah Berger, the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, is an assistant professor of marketing at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. His upcoming book is a study of social epidemics and how products, ideas and behaviors become popular. According to Berger the STEPPS for going viral include social currency, triggers, emotions, public, practical value and, stories.
Watch This: If you don’t want to be caught off guard when your friends chat about the latest internet meme, keep these key words in mind: gyrating, bizarre costumes, and props. The Harlem Shake involves 30-second videos that begin with a sole person, typically masked, casually dancing to music producer Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.” After 15 seconds the beat drops, the camera shot changes, and the people who were seemingly unaffected by the original dancer are now going wild. Watch the latest compilation video here or an adorable father-son version here.
Interesting App: How would you feel about an app that encourages women to rate men like restaurants? The Lulu app has seen an increase in downloads thanks to Valentine’s Day. It connects with Facebook and allows women to rate the men in their lives as well as access a database for reviews on other men. Reviews are anonymous, but users must specify whether the person they’re rating is an ex, a crush, a current partner, or a friend. Users are invited to rate best and worst qualities, looks, sense of humor, willingness to commit.