‘Tis the season


Happy 2015!

Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I look forward to the season because of beautiful light displays and the occasional rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

What I love most about the holidays are the infused warmth emanating from friends, coworkers, and family: beautiful Hanukkah displays at the store, cozily decorated houses, and lots of extra goodies in the office break room.

One of my favorite holiday surprises is getting greeting cards! It’s such a beautiful way to let people know you’re thinking of them, and who doesn’t like getting mail (that isn’t a bill)? This has really inspired me to think about how I can get in on the action.

Obviously, Christmas cards don’t make sense, since I don’t celebrate Christmas. Eid cards make a little more sense, since I do observe Eid al Fitr. But eid greetings happen after Ramezan, which currently happens in the summer. Ramezan won’t occur during December for another decade or so, and I’d like to send something out now.

And then I remembered New Year’s. It’s one of my favorite holidays! A new year, a new beginning, a new start! I love new beginnings so much that I celebrate three times a year (January 1, Persian New Year, and Islamic New Year).

Since New Year’s is coming up soon, and my nearest and dearest all observe New Year’s (even as they follow other faith and cultural traditions), I figured New Year greetings are the best way to send those

I found some beautiful ones at Paper Source, pictured above! They have so many beautiful stationary options; and as a secret stationary nerd, picking out cards was a serious treat.

I’m curious about your traditions around this time of year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what do you do to include your multicultural circle in your celebrations?

I’m a convert to This.

This. social network

After the hubbub and subsequent disappointment about new platform Ello, I was definitely skeptical about whether This.cm would woo me. But it has: it’s full of great reads from people whose opinions I respect about issues I like reading about.

This. bills itself as “a place to find and share the web’s best stories, ideas and arguments. Each user can share just 1 link a day.” It was launched by Atlantic Media, helmed by Andrew Golis.

While Ello was widely rumored to replace Facebook, This.cm is actually doing an aspect of that for me. No, I won’t be getting off Facebook any time soon–it’s full of too many people who are important to me. Let’s be honest: Facebook is great way to watch other people’s kids get older and keep up with people that you can’t make time to see in real life. But it’s not always the best place to get informed articles.

So I’m moving all my good read recommendations to This.cm.

This.cm gives me excellent thinkpieces to pour over–not only is this what they said they’d do, they’re actually delivering. The site seems to be growing quickly (I’m getting and giving out new invites weekly, it seems) and yet there’s still plenty of good stuff. I find myself ignoring daily websites I usually check and just going to This. to find what’s being shared.

It’s true there are plenty of re-shareds: just because everyone can only share one link a day doesn’t mean several people won’t all share the same link. But this happens on Facebook, too–I take it as a resounding testament to the piece’s excellent nature and make sure to read it.

The greatest part about This.cm is that you get all you excellent longreads in one place, without baby pictures, memes, and the normal ad garbage on Facebook (at least, for now). I can publish excellent articles I’ve read there, without worrying about family and coworkers unfriending me to escape from my undoubtedly political content weighing down their newsfeeds (I see you, unfrienders. You could’ve just muted me).

I’m already segmenting my social media usage on other sites, so this seems like a continuation of the process. I use Instagram for my fledgling photography skills (and maybe the occasional selfie); I use Pinterest to keep track of lifestyle and fashion ideas; I use Twitter for professional chats and to share a mixture of links and images.

Facebook used to be my one-stop-shop for social networking, and that has changed with This.cm.

Doing what I do best

fatemeh talking about social media

Blabbing about Instagram is definitely my favorite thing to do.

Yesterday, I repped brass Media while giving a presentation about using social media for business to North Salem High School’s Future Business Leaders of America student group. It was a lot of fun, and so exciting to see the next generation of those interested in business!

Photo by Devin Simpson for brass Media. 

You can now change your Instagram captions!

Instagram update 6.2.0 has brought us a cleaner look and an exciting capability: the power to change captions on your photos!

To change a caption on an old Instagram photo, go to that photo in your personal feed. Tap on the button with the ellipsis (the one with three periods), and select “Edit.”

How to edit IG captions, location, and tagged people

Once you select edit, you can change your caption as necessary! Remove or add hashtags, include Instagram handles you didn’t know about when you published, add locations, or change it however you like! Then tap “Done,” and the photo is changed to your liking.

Changing IG photos after publishing

Another change with 6.2.0 is the Explore feature now has a tab for People that you might know or be interested in following.

Find people to follow on Instagram

There have been so many times I’ve forgotten to include something when publishing a photo, only to realize it afterward and have to delete it! I’m definitely excited about the new editing functions!

Does anything about this update excite you?

Millennials in the Experience Economy and the Workplace

Talking about millennials is so hot right now.

Once the calender turns to September, it seems like the rest of the year melts away. I can’t believe it’s getting close to the end of October! I’ve been battling a cold for a few weeks, which definitely makes the days seem to run together, but I’ve also been doing and writing a lot of fun stuff lately.

For my fellow marketers, I wrote a piece in the Credit Union Times about how to stretch your 2015 marketing budget. Marketing budgets seem like the first thing to get cut when businesses tighten their belts, so I have a few strategies for coping.

On October 10, I spoke on a panel at the Oregon Business Education Association conference, held at the Kennedy School in Portland, Oregon. I was on a panel designed to help business education teachers understand the varied types of workplaces they will help students prepare for. The panel was fantastic, featuring both small businesses and large corporations, featuring CEOs and middle-management, and featuring me! I was the youngest person on the panel and the only millennial. Overall, I believe the teachers really got a thorough idea of how varied workplaces can be: some people on the panel were still not allowed to access social media at their workplace, while others were in constant communication with coworkers via Twitter and FourSquare.

Intergenerational Workplace Panel

The entire conference touched on the subject of inter-generational workplaces, and much attention was given to millennials. I don’t think I was the only millennial in the room, but it felt very weird to hear speakers talk about my generation. Most of it focused on differences millennial workers bring to the workplace, but there have been so many anti-millennial think-pieces out there that it’s difficult not to be wary of anyone who isn’t a millennial talking about how “we” are. Especially when many of these pieces discuss millennial attributes as negative just because they differ from previous generational work styles. Different shouldn’t automatically be negative, and I view some attributes (like a demand for more work/life balance) as positive ones.

A piece I wrote for brass Media again focuses on millennials and the experience economy. Increasingly, people of my generational are spending money on experiences, not things. So I write about how industries, even conservative ones like financial institutions, can think about how to get in on the experience economy:

So how can credit unions and banks use the experience economy to woo young adults? Shift from thinking about products and think about the banking experience as a whole.

Check out the whole thing here.

Instagram’s latest update has disabled location data [UPDATED]

Location Services for Instagram on iOS 8

Newer always seems better, doesn’t it?

I definitely thought so when I downloaded iOS 8. I was so excited for the bunch of new messaging upgrades alone.

The next day, I also dutifully downloaded the slew of app updates that rolled in for iOS 8 update. Among them was an update for Instagram.

I didn’t think anything of this until last night, when I tried to upload one of the pictures I’d taken during a recent weekend trip to Crater Lake. The social media strategy nerd in me had planned out which pictures to upload during the week, and so I was incredibly frustrated to find that Instagram’s 6.1.0 update seems to have disabled external location data.

As you know from my previous post on geotagging pictures for Instagram, the geodata needs to be embedded in the photos themselves (either using location services when you’re actually taking the picture, or by adding the geotags afterwards using an app like Koredoko or Mappr).

iOS 8’s Location Services for Instagram have changed: instead of just being a button you can toggle “On” or “Off,” you now must choose between “Never” and “While Using the App.” But if you enable Location Services while using the app, it searched for nearby locations, not the location data embedded in the picture you’re uploading.

This is really disappointing and frustrating. As I can tell from the response to my geotagging post, the map experience is so important to so many Instagrammers. I’ve contacted Instagram about fixing this for their next update, but this is one thing we’ll have to wait and see on.

UPDATE: Later today, Instagram’s 6.1.1 update has fixed the problem! Map lovers rejoice!

Shoptagr sales alerts

Hukkster is closing. What do I do now? [Updated]

I was disappointed to hear that Hukkster, my favorite sales notification site, is shutting down. I’d relied it on it to let me know when anything I wanted was on sale, and really loved that it was headed up by women. In order to make sure that I didn’t go without sales alerts, I immediately embarked on finding a new alert service.

Within minutes of putting out a call on Twitter, I was inundated with requests. Most of them came from sales alert services themselves (or employees), but I’ll give them all a big high five for having excellent Twitter searches to let them know I and others will be looking.

Since getting the best deal on something is pretty damn important to me, I tried a few that I thought would suit me. Here’s how it went, in case you need a new sale alert system! FYI, I was using all these services on my laptop, so I can’t speak to the mobile apps or versions.

Update 8/6/14: Fashionista has a list of services you can try, too!

Track If:

Track If sales alertsUnfortunately, this was the one I liked the least. Even though there’s a pretty cool feature that tracks the history of the price (so you can see if it’s gone up or down over time), the inability to let me choose things like color, size, or sale percentage really didn’t work for me. I need to know how much I’m saving!

Even though they have a nice user interface, I counted Track If out early on. Plus, they automatically connected me to Facebook, even though I didn’t use Facebook as my sign-in. It creeped me out and ruled out Track If for good.

Their Chrome extension button was handy, but I’d only use Track If for checking out the history of pricing for something you’d like to buy.

Update 8/5/2014: TrackIf’s people are very helpful over Twitter, and assured me they’re looking to expand into price, color, etc., tracking.

Update 8/6/2014: TrackIf has asked me to remove the bit about auto-connection to Facebook because “it is untrue.”

While they did not automatically connect to my Facebook account, the Facebook plugin on their site did. TrackIf can argue with me about semantics all they like, but the plugin is unnecessary and seems invasive. Social share buttons would suffice if I wanted to share my tracks with all my friends (which I don’t).




Covvet bugs

Covvet seemed really easy, but turned out to be really buggy. It has a Chrome extension (which I started expecting), and the layout was very simple. Until it was too simple.

There was nowhere to set email alerts, which bothered me. When you’re logged in, there’s not FAQs or About or How It Works page to let you know they’ll be emailing you an alert when something you want goes on sale. And after I confirmed my email address, I still got a message on the site (both on desktop and mobile) that told me to confirm my email address.

Another confusing aspect is that there are two tabs: On Sale and Everything (which is the items you Covvet). Even though one of the sandals I tagged was on sale, it didn’t show up in the On Sale tab. Neither did the Gap khakis I Covveted, which were on sale for $39.

Which brings me to the most serious bug–the fact that these khakis showed up as $10.95. The website said the pair I wanted was $39. The cheapest pair was $19.99. It worried me that Covvet had a completely different price–what if I happily skipped over to Gap’s website to buy a pair of khakis for $10.95? I’d be pretty disappointed to find out they were $39 instead.

And the nail in Covvet’s coffin was that they didn’t support J. Crew’s factory store. They’ll send me an email when it’s added to their supported list of stores (which, to be fair, is pretty extensive). But nobody has time for that.

Update: Covvet tweeted at me immediately to help resolve the problems I’d had. I appreciated that.


Mavatar's shopping cartMavatar:

Mavatar works differently than the other services. Everyone else has an extension that you press to add something to your list of stuff to get alerts about. But Mavatar’s Chrome extension button installs a cart.

When I opened the cart, there was something from Old Navy. I don’t know how it got there, so I was a bit freaked out. I also didn’t know how to put something in my cart, and the FAQs didn’t address it. After I tweeted them for help, I realized I’d have to put something into the shopping cart on the website I was visiting for it to show up in my Mavatar cart. This worked for Gap, but not for the J. Crew Factory store. Tsk, tsk!

Something about having to physically put an item in my cart turned me off. Savings and coupons are applied when shopping; they don’t email you to let you know something’s on sale. Since I wanted that email, Mavatar didn’t work for me.

Update: I received a nice email from Lindsey Kennedy in the Social Media Marketing department that took the time to explain how some of the processes worked and thanked me for the feedback. She explained that Mavatar’s purpose is to be completely different than all other sales alerts (which I’d definitely agree that they do) and outlined how Mavatar is doing that. It’s definitely an interesting model, but not one that I wanted.


And now, the moment you (may) have been waiting for! I found my new Hukkster.

Shoptagr sales alerts

Shoptagr (The Winner!):

I liked Shoptagr the best, folks. It reminded me of what I liked about Hukkster: it’s easy. 

There isn’t a Chrome extension, but they have a +Tag button, which is easily dragged to your Toolbar, so I didn’t feel inconvenienced.

Shoptagr allows you to tag exactly what you want: price, color, percentage off during sale, fit.

Another cool feature is that you can earn rewards when people sign up using your personal link. Or you can share via your social channels, with simple share buttons (hear that, Track If?! Nobody automatically signed me into anything). After five people sign up, you get a $10 gift card to Amazon, Asos, Topshop, or Net-A-Porter. Ten people sign up, you get a $20 gift certificate. And so on, up to $250. I don’t flatter myself a fashion influencer, but I think the chance is pretty rad.

You can also set email preferences. Hallelujah!

The one downside was that Shoptagr got confused when there were too many products available on one page. Since it’s pretty rare that e-retailers clutter up their pages, this wasn’t a huge problem.

Update: Shoptagr emailed me to let me know that I could also receive text alerts just by changing my settings. Not a feature I plan on using, but pretty cool.

Update: Shoptagr now has a browser extension.

Do you have sales alert services that you really like or use any of these services? Tell me about why you like them in the comments.