Cycle for Survival – Cancer Research

Join The Battle jpeg

Please help me raise funds for the battle against pediatric cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, thyroid, ovarian and other types of cancer.

I’m riding in Cycle for Survival this weekend to raise money to fund lifesaving cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

100% of every dollar you give will go directly to pioneering research within six months of the events.

Thank you for your consideration!

Donate here:  http://bit.ly/1BTKju6

Hiring Alert – Digital Analyst

The Universal Studios Hollywood digital marketing team is growing.

New job posting:  we’re looking for an experienced Manager of Digital Analytics. Strong Omniture background is a key requirement.

Please kindly share this link with anyone you feel is qualified and may be interested.

http://www.nbcunicareers.com/view-job?id=202991

Thank you!

On the (Check-Ins) list

Top Check-Ins Around The World

Last week Facebook posted its Top 10 U.S. Check-Ins list as part of its 2013 Year in Review. I’m happy to share that Universal Studios Hollywood made the list again. We climbed one spot from last year, from 8th to 7th.

A big Thank You to my teammates and co-workers who helped make this happen over the past two years. (Disclosure: I’m an employee of Universal Studios Hollywood and am responsible for digital marketing).

I find the milestone to be extra sweet because I’ve been working on the company’s Facebook presence literally since its first day.

On an even more personal note, I have to admit that I felt some joy in seeing Universal Studios Hollywood’s name next to Fenway Park, which is 8th on this year’s Top U.S. Check-Ins list.

7. Universal Studios Hollywood (Universal City, CA)
8. Fenway Park (Boston, MA)

Growing up in Massachusetts I shared the New England kid dream that my professional career would someday lead me to Fenway. OK, so side-by-side on a Facebook list isn’t quite the stuff of childhood fantasies…. but I appreciate the irony.

Reader Beware

The Facebook Stories Top Check-Ins list generated a decent amount of media attention last week. It was interesting to see how the information was often reported in a slightly inaccurate way.

Looking at how Facebook released the information, it’s understandable where the confusion began.

The first and most prominent of its two Top Check-In lists was presented as:  “Top Check-Ins Around The World:  Explore the most popular destinations people checked into this year”. (I.e., the image at the top of this blog post)

That headline links to the following eye-catching map highlighting 25 locations around the world:

Facebook Stories 2013 check-ins map

Not surprisingly, many news outlets rans stories implying that these locations were the most checked-into spots in the world. For example, a CNN Travel article was titled, “The 25 most popular destinations for Facebook check-ins in 2013”. And an article in The Telegraph (UK) referred to the locations as “the 25 most popular locations of 2013.”

However, there’s a nuance that makes this billing inaccurate. The Facebook top 25 list highlights the #1 check-in spot within each of 25 countries (i.e., one spot per select country); it is not a list of the 25 top check-in spots overall.

Facebook should have been more careful in how it presented the information. Vague wording leads to vague understanding.

Facebook has received some bad press for cluttered layouts and confusing privacy instructions. The wording of the Year In Review article (and the check-in lists therein) doesn’t help counter perceptions about poorly disseminated information. This is especially poignant in the digital world, where there’s a premium on having a relentless focus on an easy user experience.

At the same time, journalists should have caught the nuance. It should be pretty obvious that the U.S. is not home to just one of the world’s top 25 check-in locations, given its population, the amount of tourism and the Facebook usage rate. It is equally unlikely that Blue Lagoon in Reykjavík, Iceland, could have a check-in count large enough to rank amongst the world’s highest (the entire population of Iceland is 320,000).

Getting back to Universal Studios Hollywood, its relative place on the U.S. list is easy to discern. For “Top U.S. Check-Ins” Facebook provided a straight-forward #1 through #10 ranking.

No fancy graphics but no confusion.

(Please note that all comments made in this post and in this blog overall reflect personal opinions and not the opinions of Comcast, NBCUniversal or Universal Studios Hollywood).

Reminder to self: Stop

An ideal to take a break (Mykonos patio with view of harbor and beach)

I highly recommend a recent NY Times article by Tony Schwartz titled “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive.”

If you’re like me – often eating lunch at your desk; not always using all your allotted vacation time – you’ll probably agree the article is full of good reminders.

The key point of the article is that while it’s common to work longer and longer hours to get more done, many of us would actually increase our productivity (and presumably our creativity) by resting more.

“Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.”

I definitely agree about afternoon naps. I previously worked in Japan in an environment that was open to short naps. Closing my eyes when needed and sleeping for 10-15 minutes left me much more energetic than another cup of coffee or tea would have.

Companies that embrace napping – perhaps only a minority of progressive companies in the U.S. – are on the right track.

A concept discussed in the article I was less familiar with is that “during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes” and consequently “working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity.”

I couldn’t guess the number of days I’ve pushed through an entire afternoon, 1pm to 6pm, if not longer, without a meaningful break.

I’m interested in seeing the effect of spacing out two meaningful breaks during this period – if possible, short walks outside or a few trips up and down the office building staircase.

“Relax! You’ll Be More Productive” is currently ranked as the NY Time’s most emailed article over the past 30 days. With business culture seemingly hurtling toward an ever-more-breakneck pace, it’s understandable why.

2012 year end

2012

Two year-end social media notes, one professional and one personal. (At least to the diminishing extent that those realms are distinct from one another).

On the professional front, I’m happy to share that Universal Studios Hollywood made one of Facebook’s 2012 Trends top 10 lists, in the Check-Ins category.

Facebook 2012 Trends - Check-ins

On a personal note, I’d like to extend a very sincere thank-you to everyone who has taken time to read posts on this blog. I’ve been touched by how many people from different parts of the world have visited The Contrast Principle since I started it in September. I’ve received a lot of words of encouragement and great feedback, including many thoughtful comments that have added to post topics.

After years of telling my wife I was considering starting a new blog and once a week saying “that’d make a good post,” I finally committed myself to the effort. I’ve really enjoyed the process and am looking forward to continuing in 2013.

Thank you in advance for your continued interest and support.

And, more importantly, best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful New Year!

— Josh Cole, 12/31/12