The Law of Social Media

in Internal Stuff, Social Media

This morning we received an update from one of our providers about possible service interruptions. After a little digging, we saw reports about a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on their system. This attack was the result of a SendGrid employee Twitter-shaming two PlayHaven employees.

Being in this biz we know it’s inevitable that things like this will happen. And when they do, companies like us get caught in the middle. Thankfully SendGrid was able to restore their services quickly enough and we weren’t seriously affected. Unfortunately for the companies and parties involved, they are now cleaning up a devastating blow to their businesses and professional lives.

This morning’s events have left us with a very important reminder that even on the Internet, Newton’s law applies:

“For every action, there is always an equal or opposite reaction.”

When the Internet attacks, the blows can be swift and brutal. Make sure you have policies and procedures in place whether you’re on social media or not… because more than likely your employees are.

 

Read more about Twitter-Shaming Incident:
A Dongle Joke That Spiraled Way Out of Control
SendGrid Fires Company Evangelist After Twitter Fracas
How “dongle” jokes got two people fired—and led to DDoS attacks

Social Media Policies & Procedures:
To Do: Update Company’s Social Media Policy ASAP
Avoid Social Media Disasters in 2013
When HR Decisions Become Social Media Scandals

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Stanton Street Stacks Up the Goods for a New Self Storage Site

in Announcements, Design & Development, Launches

There’s always a bit of excitement and a lot of questions when Stanton Street begins a new project. What neat features can we offer the client? Are they open to cool suggestions? When can we launch this puppy?! It’s definitely a great experience but when you know the client will be leading the local competition with an online presence much sleeker than anything else out there, well, it’s that much more exciting.

Southwest Self Storage approached Stanton Street because they wanted to be sure their website was going to lead the competition within the local and regional markets. The challenge was eagerly accepted.

storageunitselpaso.com website by Stanton Street - website screenshot

The Southwest Self Storage site includes a storage calculator which allows the user to estimate the size of storage unit needed for their goods.

As with all clients, Southwest Self Storage expected a professional online image and features which were easy to navigate. That was a given. However, one unique request was that multiple storage facilities which would fall under the Southwest Self Storage name would also need to be featured on the homepage. Tony, Stanton Street’s creative director, took this into consideration when designing the main page of the site. Other facilities might join Southwest Self Storage in the future so the need to easily add their names and logos was kept in mind.

Deciding what type of storage unit you need isn’t the easiest of tasks. Southwest Self Storage knew this based on client interaction so one neat feature which was included was a Storage Unit Calculator. Upon “building” your storage unit with boxes, furniture and other standard household items, the third-party system determines the size of unit the user will need. This definitely saves the customer time by removing the need to visit the facility before moving in their possessions. The calculator is easily accessible from the homepage of the website.

More and more businesses are starting to realize that photos for their websites need to be a bit more than just hastily shot images from a basic camera or smartphone. Southwest Self Storage wanted clean and neat pictures of the facility so they utilized Stanton Street’s photography services as well.

Well-written content for the introduction of the site, an About Us page and staff descriptions are must-haves. While the majority of the text provided by Southwest Self Storage was good to go, we did help clean it up a bit and rework some aspects of the content.

Convenience is always a plus so Southwest Self Storage made sure customers could easily make payments by including a Pay Online feature which allows the user to access their facility’s payment page. There are bound to be all kinds of questions when it comes to storing goods. That’s why an FAQs section was included where the client could easily add or remove questions and answers as needed.

“We’re looking forward to giving our customers the ability to pay securely with our new redesigned website. We’re also pleased to offer tools that will help customers determine what type and size of storage they will need,” said Southwest Self Storage owner Will Harvey.

If you’re curious about all the great features we provided for Southwest Self Storage or you need a storage unit soon, visit their site to check them out. You can also check out our site to see other work we’ve done or get in touch with us about building your company’s new online presence!

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Political Campaign Services: Stanton Street’s Latest Online Offering

in Announcements, Marketing, Technology & Trends

Running for a political position is no easy task. There’s paperwork to be filled out, a trust-worthy and dependable campaign team that needs to be built, a platform to develop, strategies which need to be outlined… and usually all before making the big announcement. When District 7 representative Steve Ortega decided to run as a mayoral candidate for the upcoming race in El Paso, Texas, it’s likely that many of these details were already on his mind.

It’s a tall order so anything that can make the endeavor less stressful has to be a good thing. Luckily, Stanton Street has a few helpful products. During the latter part of 2011, some useful tools were being developed to assist with an U.S. Congressional Campaign which turned out to be a success. These elements are now part of an all-encompassing package that is available for political hopefuls or organizations trying to target potential voters and supporters.

ActiVote Social Voter Engagement Tool by Stanton Street

Our Political Campaign Services are grouped around a core component called Acti-Vote. This online tool allows clients to gather invaluable voter demographic information which, along with other campaign elements, can be used to build a database that clients can use to recruit supporters and correspond with them throughout the life of the campaign.

If a candidate is going the traditional route, there’s bound to be plenty of block-walking and door knocking along the way. Although forms and clipboards can be useful, they’re not always the friendliest companions. Mobility is a plus, so our package includes a mobile-friendly interface which allows teams to collect and save information along the way. There’s no need to transfer data at the end of the trek because all info is automatically added to the campaign database.

Targeting potential voters is an entirely different game these days. The List Builder portion of our Political Campaign Services allows clients to build custom lists from a database of registered voters… but that’s just the beginning. These lists can also be based on various combinations of valuable information such as voting history, gender, age, location and other types of characteristics. Once finalized, they can be prepared as mailing or walking lists to target individuals most likely to vote for your candidate.

While we mentioned quite a bit, this is just the tip of the online campaigning iceberg. Services for customized mailing and walking lists, data visualization, copywriting and photography are available as well. All of these elements can be found through our site on a page dedicated to Political Campaign Services.

It’s been a few months since Steve Ortega approached Stanton Street and we’ve been chugging away at his campaign ever since. The Ortega for El Paso website has been up and running for quite some time already and we’re continuing to work on other aspects of the project.

Of course, Stanton Street is available to help with your venture as well. Give us a call at 915.351.8440 or shoot us an email to get started on your campaign!

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Ready, Set… Vote! Stanton Street Takes on Another Political Campaign Project

in Announcements, Launches, Marketing

The success of the recent Beto O’Rourke for Congress campaign is still fresh on many El Pasoans’ minds but we’re already chugging along with the next political project. The position for Mayor of El Paso will be up for grabs and one candidate wasted no time hitting up Stanton Street to help build awareness for his campaign efforts.

District 7 City Representative Steve Ortega threw his hat in the ring late last year and immediately started working on his online presence. The site for his campaign is a clean and straight-forward approach which allows the user to easily learn about Ortega’s political vision.

ortegaforelpaso.com website by Stanton Street - website screenshot

The Steve Ortega website is filled with information about Ortega’s vision for El Paso.

The homepage features three prominently placed buttons which lead the user to either Ortega’s bio, his platform issues or a page to sign up as a volunteer. The homepage also features a banner ad which displays each of Ortega’s platform issues. If a user wants to know more about a topic, clicking on the image for that issue will direct the user to a page with more detailed information.

Regardless of which page a user may be viewing, the ability to make a donation, sign up to receive the campaign newsletter or visit the official Facebook page are all featured on the site’s template.

While the success of a campaign depends on a variety of factors, we’re sure the new website will serve as an indispensable tool in the weeks to come.

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Stanton Street Constructs A Site for Picturesque Hunt Companies Project

in Announcements, Launches

As El Paso’s population continues to grow, so does the selection for areas in which to reside within the Sun City. Cimarron, a one-of-a-kind community development project from Hunt Companies, Inc., is one of those newest options.

liveatcimmarron.com website by Stanton Street - website screenshot

If you’re in the market for a new home, check out the Cimarron website. If you’re in the market for a new site, let’s talk!

The website developed for this latest venture includes detailed information for the community. If a user wants to see maps of the area, get more details about the neighborhood school being built within the community or access documents related to the area, it’s all easily accessible through the new structure.

A variety of photos provided by Stanton Street’s photography services can also be found throughout the entire site. If your company is in the market for a new online presence, call or shoot us a message today!

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Enter the Nerds…

in Internal Stuff

Tony Casas, Web Designer at Stanton StreetHere at Stanton Street, we’ve never been shy about our technical aptitude. That’s why we’ll be featuring a few of our employees in our upcoming ad campaign. Keep your eyes peeled for incriminating awesomeness!

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Cloud Computing and the Haboob of Technology

in Technology & Trends

By now I think we can safely say that most people know what Cloud computing is. They may not be able to explain it in exact detail, but they have more than likely used it whether they realize it or not. The fact is we’re surrounded by clouds.

The idea of cloud computing has been around for quite a while. Simply put, it’s the idea of using a service outside of your desktop computer. For example, one form of cloud computing is if you use or have used an email service like Gmail. This system allows you to log into your email from ANY computer. This means the actual Gmail program is not located on your computer but on a server living somewhere in Google-landia. Once you use your username and password, that server pulls up your emails and other stored files through an Internet connection.

Remember that snazzy USB or flash drive you used to use to share pictures, music and other files with your friends? If you store your files with a cloud storage service such as DropBox, you probably won’t need it anymore. You simply add individuals to share your files with or keep them private. The best part is your files are – again, accessible from ANY computer.

Cloud_computing

By Sam Johnston [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Recently, the cloud has blossomed into a big business for companies like Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google. They have given consumers a way to store, manage or download files from servers using almost any type of device like a smartphone or laptop. Streaming music, movies, downloading applications and collaborating on documents has never been easier.

If you’re on a social media site like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram all the images and posts you share with your friends are stored on their servers. Some users post everyday, others very little. Their servers accommodate the user surges and lulls, so when you see that one of them is down that means they’ve met their “room” capacity. Social sites also maintain and update their platform so users can continue to upload images, post messages and share links.

Cloud computing is also giving businesses of all sizes an opportunity to “virtualize” their network. Companies are encouraged to take advantage of the flexibility of the cloud, renting space and services based on their usage needs. Many cloud computing service providers offer packages from basic hosting to full-blown infrastructures that live on the cloud. Because of this, many employees now have the ability to work remotely since they are no longer restricted to using one computer to get the job done. Is the cloud changing the workplace as we know it? All answers point to “yes.”

Here at Stanton Street we also have a few cloud-type services such as email hosting and protection. Heck, most of our websites are hosted on a cloud. We also access various applications from vendors’ clouds and stream music in our office. We collaborate using Google Drive and, we even write about clouds…

There’s no doubt that clouds exist in almost every aspect of our lives. Frankly, cloud computing is so widespread and evolving so quickly and furiously we should actually be calling it a term most of us Southwesterners know: “A haboob.” Yep. That’s it… “A Haboob of Technology.” You heard it here first folks. No need to credit us, just pass it along.

Haboob

If you’d like to know more about the cloud and how it affects you or your business, shoot us an email or give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

Read more about cloud computing:
Houston Chronicle: Will Cloud Computing Destroy What is Left of Your Free Time?
Explain That Stuff!: Cloud Computing
Forbes: Cloud Computing: Four Predictions For The Year Ahead

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Holiday Hours

in Announcements, Internal Stuff

In honor of the Merry Holidays, we’re giving our employees time off to go home and snuggle with kittens, loved ones and possibly a turkey sammich. Our offices will be closed December 24th – 25th and January 1st.

If you have a web-related emergency on any of those days, feel free to use our ticketing system. If you’re not sure how to log in, give us a ring before the holidays and we’ll get you all set. Have a wonderful & safe break!

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2013: The Year of Responsive Design?

in Design & Development, Technology & Trends

From the nineties until about five years ago, the main concern web designers had was browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. We’d monitor which ones were used the most, what new versions or types were available and we’d build our sites for them. For instance, when Google Chrome decided to develop a browser we needed to modify our code based on the strengths and limitations of that particular browser. Then, when a browser’s usability dropped below 1%, like Internet Explorer 7 today, we’d drop support.

In the early 2000’s something changed web design forever. A friendly little device called a smartphone strolled into our lives. Web designers adapted and began applying various fixes behind the scenes to assure that the experience users had on their various smartphones was similar to the one they had on their desktop. We’d also continue to keep an eye on top browsers and build sites accordingly.

These days, web consumption is evolving at an alarming rate. Over 50% of the population has a smartphone and within only two years of their introduction, tablets have infiltrated one-fifth of the homes in the U.S.* Add to that a plethora of devices such as game consoles, netbooks, Mac-minis, televisions that all have various resolutions and aspect ratios that we’d have to design to.

Wait. Is this a Calgon moment for web design? Probably.

Since 2010, some very smart people have been discussing theories on how to approach the ever-changing climate of web design and the challenges we’re running into. Their solution? A technique called Responsive Design which takes one web design and makes it look great on any screen size. Unfortunately this is not a fix-all solution and with most new theories or applications this is going to take a while to perfect.

The technique of responsive design is most useful for clients who produce news or blog-style content. Simply because the reason for visiting these particular sites stems from one purpose: to read the content or view images. Right now, anything with complex, multi-purposed content will more than likely not work in a responsive design format because the code that will be used to build it is very complicated and data-heavy. This means load times will suffer and user experience flies out the door which is a one way ticket to “No-No Land” for us development people.

As we dig deeper into responsive design, there is no doubt that the web development community will come up with effective and more streamlined solutions. Until then we will continue to work with our clients to provide the best strategies that accomplish their online goals. Is responsive design for you? Contact us or give us a call and find out: (915) 351-8440.

Read More about Responsive Design:

*Nielsen: Watching TV? Don’t forget your Smartphone, Tablet

Cloudspotting: Responsive Design

B2C: The Cure for the Common Website

Patrick McNeil: A Crash Course on Responsive Design

Ethan Marcotte: Responsive Web Design

Forbes: Mobile Apps: The Trouble With Using ‘Responsive Design’

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Hot ‘n Fresh and Ready for ROI: We’ve Got Your Google Certification Coming Right Up!

in Announcements

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.

Karen is taking website analytics and SEO by storm on a daily basis. She took a quick break this week for tea and to ace her GAIQ certification renewal. GAIQ stands for “Google Analytics Individual Qualification” and if your current or perspective website developer doesn’t have it or has never heard of it, you may want to take a few steps back and ponder this for a moment:

Website metrics and analytics are Internet gold. This is one of the only ways to determine if your website is returning on your investment. If the company that built your site isn’t applying metrics or is reporting them incorrectly, that means your site may not be performing at its best. That’s why you need someone who is certified.

Luckily Stanton Street is a phone call away for search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), social media and Google Analytics. Give us a shout to get your site on the right track: (915) 351-8440.

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