LoveTheCool BLOG

(bloggy-type content from my agency LoveTheCool DIGITAL)

Madonna + Vogue: Trying Too Hard and Failing Bad

This Madonna Video is Bad.
What happened to the woman who reinvented herself every couple of years and dictated to the rest of the world what was hot?  She seems to be stuck somewhere between 1989-1992. 


Not Bad Enough to be Good.

Then there’s the Kanye/Kim cover.  I’m not even posting the image because I don’t want to be part of the problem.  Vogue can break their own rules about just having models on the cover all they want,  but make sure you break it with something really good - or really bad.  K/K are just so in between. So, average. 

Doesn’t Anna know most of us want to forget Kanye West is still out there. Sucking. 

It Says Something Really Big About This Moment in Culture
Both of these examples illustrate how the former style-elite have not kept up, but instead have completely lost touch with what’s cool. 

Goodbye Bangs, Hello Reality

I got these bangs cut into my forehead hair last August after a particularly stressful time in life, and six months later realize they are so not the answer.

For me, hair is always the first casualty of emotional turmoil. It’s the one thing I have total control over and the first place I go to for total change (and a very momentary feeling of control).

Michelle McCormack

At first it was cool, everyone was like “wow, you look 10 years younger and it’s true, I did. From a distance.  But up close, in the mirror, I could see I really just looked like someone my age sporting a young haircut.

HAIR-TO-FACE DISCREPANCY
The thing is, I’m young enough that at my age/condition (age is becoming a condition) it still kind of works. My hair-to-face discrepancy isn’t glaring.  But in a few years, I know it will just be. Glaring I mean. And it will also be, well, pathetic. Who wants to look one generation from afar and another one up close? I’ve seen those people. It’s sad.

The thing about hair is I can cut it, tease it, bleach it and strip it. I can go from long, brown, wavy ‘Heather hair’ to shaved (in some parts), white, teased in the back, slicked up front hair, and within a few months of realizing what a disaster I made of my head and what-the-hell-was-I-thinking-of cuz he’s still an asshole and I just look like one, to more or less how it was before I went mental on it. Heather’s back. My hair forgives.

ALTERING APPEARANCE TO ALTER THE SPIRIT
Recently, I happened upon a  pre-bang picture of myself (I do way too many selfies) and I thought wow, I look cool. I’m like an adult, kind of sophisticated, totally my age (I look young anyway and don’t ask) and completely hair-to-face appropriate. And I thought, I miss the old me, the me before my insecurities about aging got the best of me.  Those insecurities are always going to be there, but it’s up to me not to let them get the best of me. I especially want to be careful about taking desperate action on my head or my general appearance, based on emotional turmoil or insecurity around something I have absolutely no control of.
Michelle McCormack

So, I hope I never do bangs again, just like I hope I never do botox injections, fillers or anything else that alter’s my appearance in hopes of altering my spirit. It’s so temporary. It lacks long-term strategy. And it so doesn’t work.

Punk: Chaos to Couture Show at The Met is Full of Inspiration, History and Rules

diydestroy
Gallery View, D.I.Y.: Destroy (sourced on Google)

One thing’s for sure, The Metropolitan Museum of Art sure runs a tight ship. At least The Costume Institute does. Between the NO PHOTO rule enforced with an iron fist, the alarm sounding if you even think too hard about a garment, and the security guard’s eyes tracking you like you’re some some poor kid lurking around the candy section of a bodega (they must get a cash bonus or why else?), I get the feeling the Met elders might have missed the whole point of the Punk movement. You know, anarchy and all that shit. But more about that later.

DIVINE INSPIRATION
The fashion this year was astounding: Punk is not just a mish-mashed collection of ripped up trashy apparel. Oh no. These pioneering designers in the couture tier were ripping it up and then tailoring it back together like old masters.

I have a brand new respect for Vivienne Westwood, who before this I thought of as almost a mascot of a somewhat irresponsible movement. Up close (don’t stand too close, or the alarm sounds and a hand comes out and slaps you across the face) you see bobby pins holding together garments in a way that is almost godly. The draping. Looking at some of this tailoring I got the feeling that God was less judgmental than the mainstream ‘normals’ back then (and the people working at The Met today). NYML104-56_2013_094127_highVivienne Westwood (sourced on Google)

WHAT’S THE INTERNET MOM?
Back to the no photo rule. I really felt like, WTF, why is it I can take photos in every other room at the Met, but not here? Is Maison Martin Margiela’s trash bag dress really more sanctified than Rodin’s ‘Eternal Spring’? Is Alexander McQueen’s bubble wrap dress (made of silk and so killer) that important that it’s likeness can only be captured by the Met’s own photographers and then sold in the gift shop? Oh wait, hang on, now I get it…

… but I don’t think the Met does. Get how the Internet works, I mean. They have computers, right? How do they not realize that within days of opening every angle of that show was indexed on Google and available ad nauseam? I know they’re old, but really? Where do you think I got all the photos for this post?
punk show rodin
Rodin’s Eternal spring (l), MMM (r) (both sourced on Google)

google-headquarters
Google Headquarters (don’t look at me, that’s what the Internet said…)

NOT A HOBBY, IT’S AN ANXIETY
The thing they don’t get, deep down, is that this whole taking pictures thing is not a hobby, it’s an anxiety. We have these handy (cringe) camera phones attached to us compulsively shoot/sharing anything that’s even slightly interesting or out of the ordinary. It sucks. It’s a total burden. But there it is. We need people to know what we’re doing, especially if it’s cool. And the Punk show is too cool.  So you’re setting us up for failure by telling us we can’t shoot - and that’s not cool. You should have SHOOT ALL YOU WANT signs throughout, so we feel free to do what we can’t help doing anyway, without feeling like we’re about to get in trouble.  Give us a break. You have nothing to protect, anyway. We don’t want your stuff, but we need the pixels. 

So after passing through room one, where not taking a photo of the replicated CBGB bathroom took heroic self control (I felt like I deserved an award) further on through the creepy S+M-video-on-monitors and a facsimile (that’s what the Met calls it; I thought that was like a printer: fax?) of Vivienne’s famous 430 King’s Road SEX Boutique, then through the hallway of awesome where modern and old designers were represented and showing some the most killer wedding dresses on the planet. If I were ever stupid enough to get married…

Until I finally entered the fax of the famous British DIY Destroy warehouse. I had to shoot. Volume off: check, flash off (that one ALWAYS get you): check, iPhone held close to the chest clicking off pictures as I walk: one, two, three, awesome! I made it! Uh oh, a stout female security guard is barrel assing toward me, looking very pissed! How could she have even seen me? I’m thinking she’s going to confiscate my phone, seriously. And/or throw me out. I was thinking, is this actually illegal? Can The Met put a sign up telling us not to do something and if we do that thing, it’s actionable by law? I’m not a lawyer so I wasn’t sure. She firmly said NO PICTURES. I debated on lying and saying, OH I DIDN’T, but figured opening a dialogue would just prolong the engagement. So I quickly apologized and put my phone away, grateful that I still owned it and was allowed to stay. Wait, grateful? That’s fucked up.CBGB bathroom at the punk show
fax of CBs (sourced on Google)

ALMOST PERFECT
But whatever, fascism and all, this show was amazing. Best yet. I loved it so much more than Prada last year or McQueen the year before, and I loved them both, so much. I have never seen so much genius, rule breaking art in my entire life. But the Met missed a huge opportunity by not having it be, within reason, a NO RULES zone.  Had they done that we would have experienced the spirit of The Punk movement, as we consumed the material of The Punk movement.

And that would have been Perfect.

How To Get People To Read Your Blog and Social Media Updates

No one reads anymore.

Start with that premise and you start to make better decisions about your content marketing strategy. I’m not saying you don’t have to know how to write anymore, you definitely do, just in a different way. Not like a traditional writer, more like a long-form copywriter. Your writing has to be brief, compelling and engaging (copy, right?).

KEEP IT SHORT AND FORMATTED AND THEY MIGHT READ
Sometimes I think, can a one paragraph blog post really tell the whole story? Maybe not, but does it matter, if anything longer no one’s reading - whole story or not?  I don’t care if you’re Shakespeare, if no one’s reading, no one’s reading.  So it’s up to you to package your story in a way that will actually reach the reader. Only then will you have the chance of having any real influence.

Just remember, writing is just like any other area of digital life: information is speeding by in such an abundance and so fast you have to package your content in a way that:

  1. isn’t going to make the user work
  2. is so instantly appealing that the user is dying to share it with their entire network

Organizing your information with headers, bullets and lists will also help the reader understand your information more easily, thus reducing information overload anxiety. A bulleted list turns down the information volume and gives the user a break.

A PICTURE REALLY IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS 
Support your brief copy with compelling imagery and what you get is magic. Especially in social media. And if the image is cool enough you can basically assume no one is reading your copy anyway, but instead tripping over themselves to share your image (you) with their entire network.

When your user is excited about your content, they care less about your message and more about sharing the image and thus becoming cool by association. In this case, one sentence will due, with the more important words capitalized, since you may get LUCKY and a word or two might slip in during the act of SHARING.

BETTER FOR EVERYONE
I’m sure traditional long form writers are horrified by this development, since purists rarely see the benefit of fundamental changes to their industry. They’ll look back nostalgically on the ‘lost art’ of writing. But I think long-form copywriting is just as nobel as normal writing - maybe more so. By writing in a way that is highly accessible to the reader (user) you have more of a chance of influencing large groups of people, in a positive way, and not just bookish types who love pouring over thousand word essays.

Luckily, the world is becoming more economical. This philosophy is coming through in many ways, not just the materials we reuse or the resources we save, but also in the digital content we create and consume ❥

Yeah, But Can I Buy Shoes With Bitcoin?

Ever since hearing about Bitcoin in ‘09 I wondered if I could use it to make common, everyday purchases, like shoes. But then I’d go to research the digital currency and end up running into walls like this:

(from Wikipedia) Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority. Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution.[7] The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.

A math problem. I just wanted to know if I can use it like ca$hMoney. Look, I’m smart enough to get it, believe me, but when something feels like 7th grade I just stop thinking.

But then, relieved, I found this quick little video that nutshells the whole Bitcoin thing very well:

So yes, I can buy shoes with them, but only at ‘participating merchants’ and it’s limited. After publishing this post, I got pinged on Twitter by Gyft, the mobile app that helps manage your gift cards. They now have a partnerships with loads of mainstream retailers, like Amazon, CVS, Bath and Body Works and way more, and let you make purchases with Bitcoin. Baller!  If you ask me, this is a huge vote of confidence and validation from the mainstream economy.

You can also Google "list of retailers who accept bitcoin" and get pages of results. Stick with the #1, the Wikipedia ‘Trade’ page which breaks it down by category and lets you drill down from there. You don’t see major retailers listed-yet, though I hear through the grapevine that many, like Nordstrom, are considering it.

MAKE MONEY ON MONEY
Another angle to think about when getting into the digital currency game is the opportunity to make money on the young money.  Because Bitcoin is so new, the price of it fluctuates in a staggering-landgrab-90s Internet kind of way. It’s very compelling. And dangerous. Check out this graph:

Bitcoin Graph

Think about it

  • last September, if you bough $1,000 worth of Bitcoin it would be worth $100,000 - increasing your money 100 times
  • last April if you bought $1,000 worth of Bitcoin it would be worth $500 - losing 1/2 your money

These bullets, and the graph above, are the definition of volatility.  And opportunity.  You could have made a killing last year, or lost your shirt.

So if you want to watch the roller coaster ride from a distance check out Preev, a simple Bitcoin converter app that tracks the digital currency’s conversion in realtime.

START USING BITCOIN
It was easy. I chose to use COINBASE a new, easy to use app, with a great reputation.

coinbase

Signup, add cash and you’re done.

CONCLUSION
We are in the first 2 minutes of digital currency, and I believe it will grow into an extremely relevant global currency over the next decade and beyond, mainly because it’s:

  • secure
  • cheap to give and receive
  • liberated from governments (war, politics, etc).

Take it seriously. Start by opening a simple account (digital wallet) and trade a little. From an investment point of view, I’d wait for it to go down below $100 and then invest just as much as you can afford to lose.

Have you used it yet? What’s your experience? Any cool links?