This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Monday, February 23, 2009
I love the Squeezebox Boom
Having spent 9 years of my career working for CNET, I always stay up-to-date on the latest consumer electronics. However, because I like to get a sense of which products are worth all of their pre-launch hype, I'm usually not the first person to rush out and buy the new product.

Logitech Squeezebox Boom

I first heard about the Squeezebox Boom at CES 2008. I've used several streaming devices like it (Sonos, Omnifi, Squeezebox Duet); however, what interested me was that it was an all-in-one device. Unlike the other devices I had tried, the amp and speakers are built in.

So, as I often do, I placed the Squeezebox Boom on my Amazon Wishlist and sort of forgot about it... until a couple of weeks ago.

I was checking on the liquidation sale at our nearby Circuit City when I noticed a stack of 4 or 5 Squeezebox Booms sitting on an end cap with some HP printers. There were no markdown signs or anything else to draw attention to them (or to even let people know how much they were). Figured those could be around for a while, so I waited.

Last night, I stopped back in and found that there was only one left and that the discount was up to 50%. So I snatched it up and did a quick Google search on my BlackBerry Storm to make sure I was still getting as good of a deal as I thought. Turns out that the lowest price from a legitimate retailer was $240 from Buy. Most everyone else, including Newegg, was still selling it for $299.

I will post a more in-depth review this weekend; however, I can definitely recommend it without hesitation after using it for just a few hours. I have my entire music collection, several internet radio services and Slacker.com feeding into the Boom. Because it is portable and uses WiFi, I can simply unplug and move it to whichever room in the house I want. I figure it will be great on the patio this spring and summer.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Preparing for my 20 year reunion
I graduated from high school in 1989. In order to prepare for my 20 year reunion, I've decided to get my hair back in '80s shape.

1989 + 2009

On the left is my sweet senior yearbook photo. In the middle is a recent photo. On the right is what I will look like by July. Who's ready to rock? \m/
Added Facebook's Comments Box widget
Over the years, I have used a couple of different commenting systems: Blogger's built-in comments and Disqus.com's version. Today, though, I decided to switch to Facebook's new Comments Box widget to see how it works. It allows you to use your Facebook credentials to login and post a comment. Then, in addition to the comment showing up here on smorty71.com, an item gets posted back in your Facebook News Feed pointing to this post. Very cool.

Step-by-step instructions for adding the widget are on Facebook's Developer site. It literally took me 5 minutes to get it up and running.


Reminds me of a Dharma Initiative training video

Try it out and let me know what you think.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Gotta love your birthday on Facebook
Sunday was my birthday. Of course, if we are friends on Facebook, you probably already knew that.

I started receiving birthday wishes from Facebook friends on Friday afternoon. A couple more trickled in on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, I was overwhelmed with almost 50 Wall Posts. I even got a handful on Monday as well.

Birthday wishes on Facebook

The birthday notification feature is the perfect combination of timely content, something people like and peer pressure (i.e. all of your friends know that you know that it's their birthday). It is such an ingenious way to drive engagement and, IMO, one of their smartest features (even though I wonder if they understood how powerful it would be when they built it) outside the Mini Feed.

Of course, I also got several messages from Twitter, but not near as many. I have 3 times as many followers on Twitter (1,130+ right now) as I have Facebook friends (377), but got probably a third of the birthday wishes. While some could argue that I am closer to those 377 friends on Facebook than I am with the 1,100 people on Twitter, there are two things that Facebook does that drive this user engagement:

1. They let all of your friends know it is your birthday
There is no way to let your friends on Twitter know that it is your birthday unless you post an update about it. I am guessing that no one would have commented about my birthday on Twitter had I not posted something (I wasn't promoting it, I used Ping.fm to thank all of my Facebook friends for the messages and it got cross-posted to Twitter.)

2. They display all of your birthday wishes on your profile and in the News Feed of the well-wishers
Unlike Twitter, where @replies directly to you don't show up on your Twitter page (i.e. a visitor to twitter.com/smorty71 can't see people wishing me happy birthday), Facebook messages show up on your Wall where anyone who checks out your page can see them. So even if you miss the birthday notification in the right column of the home page, you will see other Wall Posts about it and you'll see a notation in your News Feed from other friends who have posted something.

This was my first birthday since I really started using Facebook heavily. I have been a member for years; however, I've added over 200 friends over the past 12 months and my usage really skyrocketed after moving to Columbus in July.

BTW, despite a quantity advantage Facebook has over Twitter, I think I got my favorite birthday post came from my friend Rob McKittrick (writer and director of the movie "Waiting...") on Twitter:

Twitter sexy bitch

Rob always knows just what to say.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I am mentioned in "SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate"
Earlier this week, I got a LinkedIn connection request from Paul Carringer who teaches at Columbus State Community College and Franklin University. He mentioned that he was thinking about using Joel Postman's Social Corp: Social Media Goes Corporate in an upcoming course. He also mentioned that I was referenced in the book.

This was definitely news to me, so I went to Amazon and did a "search within this book." Turns out that I am, indeed, mentioned on page 14 along with buddy Scott Monty from Ford and Jeannette Gibson from Cisco Systems.

socialcorp_excerpt

I can't vouch for the rest of the book yet; however, page 14 looks pretty good :) Thanks for the mention, Joel.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Twitter 101 at Nationwide
Part of my role at Nationwide includes educating other associates about social media. This year, I kicked off our monthly social media brown bag sessions with a Twitter 101 session.

I chose Twitter because it was something that I had been asked about dozens of times since I started. It usually involved someone leaning over to me in a meeting and whispering something like this: "I heard you could teach me about Twitter."

We used a couple of our existing social media tools, Lotus Connections, Yammer and good ol' e-mail to spread the word about the session and gauge interest in the topic. In less than 24 hours, we had 60 RSVPs.

We ended up doing two sessions at two locations last week. Overall, I think we had around 50 people give up their lunch hour to learn about Twitter. Even had several Twitter veterans show up to share how they were using the service.

It was great to see so many people from different groups around the company engaging in a discussion about social media. We ended up adding a couple dozen new Twitterers to the fold, too. We're not quite Zappos.com, but it's a great start.

Here is the full deck hosted over at SlideShare. NOTE: Some of the screenshots in the deck didn't get converted by SlideShare accurately.

View more presentations from Shawn Morton. (tags: twitter socialmedia)
Monday, February 2, 2009
10 favorite Super Bowl XLIII commercials
A lot of the chatter online last night was about how weak the Super Bowl ads were this year. While I will agree that there were more lame ads (SoBe, Overstock and GoDaddy.com) this year, I think there were still some really strong commercials.

Here are my favorites:

1. MacGruber for Pepsi
I love MacGruber on Saturday Night Live; so, of course, I will love MacGruber during the Super Bowl. Wonder if Pepsi got a break on the price since NBC got a free promo out of it.

2. Careerbuilder.com
If you use the phrase "Hey, dummy" and punch a coffee-drinking, glasses-wearing, stuffed koala in the face multiple times in 60 seconds, you will make my list every year. Guaranteed.

3. Alec Baldwin for Hulu
Alec Baldwin making fun of the brain-melting power of TV works for me. Loved the line (that went somthing like this) "It's not like you're going to turn off your TV and your computer at the same time."

4. Pepsi Max "I'm Good"
Pepsi has been in a Super Bowl ad slump over the past few years, especially the Pepsi Max brand. Their ad from last year with LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes is terrible. However, they came back strong this year with diet soda for men. Sure, it's a little sexist and a lot stereotypical, but beer companies have been using that formula for years, right?

5. Cash4Gold
I thought I was going to hate this one when it opened with a much-older-than-I-remembered Ed McMahon struggling to get a gold necklace into an envelope. However, it finished strong by adding in MC Hammer selling a gold medallion of MC Hammer wearing a gold medallion and McMahon parting with his "old friend."

6. E*TRADE
I know lots of people are tired of them, but I still love the E*TRADE baby ads. I think they do a great job of taking a pretty boring topic and making it fun and memorable. There were a few different ads this year. I think I liked the golf one with "Shankopatamus" (thanks for the reminder, Dean) the best, but incorporating Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" into the other one was a nice touch.

7. Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai made a nice introduction to their luxury sedan last year with an ad that played off of the stereotypical Mercedes or BMW ads before revealing it was a Hyundai.

This year, they took a much more humorous shot at other luxury car makers ( this time Lexus and BMW) while highlighting that the Genesis won "North American Car of the Year."

8. Cheetos
Chester hangs out on the "ugly side of town."

9. Conan O'Brien for Bud Light
Come on, it's Conan.

10. Movie trailers
There were a ton of movie trailers this year. Some of my favorites were "Land of the Lost," "Transformers Rise of the Fallen," "Year One" and "Star Trek."

That's my list. Which ones did you like?
Twitter Bowl III
For the third year in a row, I have used Twitter to enhance the experience of watching the Super Bowl.

Last year, I was too into the game to post a lot. This year, since I didn't have a team in the game (and since Amy and the kids really didn't care to watch too much of it), I used Twitter throughout.

sample_sb_tweets

It was interesting to see reactions to key plays and commercials from around the country happening in real time. It also didn't feel nearly as nerdy as this post makes it sound :)

sample_sb_tweets2

OK, maybe it was.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
My Super Bowl XLIII pick
As many of you know, I am a Patriots fan, so I'm more than a little bitter about not making it to the playoffs despite an 11-5 record. It doesn't help that the Arizona Cardinals were only 9-7 and were humiliated by the Pats 47-7 in Week 16 of the season.

As a child, I was a huge Steelers fan (my dislike of the Dallas Cowboys continues to this day). Growing up in West Virginia in the 1970s, it was an easy choice to make.

However, despite the fact that I don't think the Cardinals really deserve to be there based on their record and the fact that I loved the Steelers as a kid, I am picking the Cardinals to win Super Bowl XLIII.

Why? Well, it all goes back to the controversial catch that Santonio Holmes made at the end of the Ravens game in Week 15. It was ruled a TD and the Steelers won the game. Had the Ravens won that game, the Patriots would have ended up in the playoffs. Makes total sense, right? :)

As for the score, I am guessing it will be 31-27.

Of course, if Byron Leftwich, who is a fellow Marshall alum, goes in at QB for the Steelers (in anything but a clean up role), I reserve the right to change my pick.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.