Men are from Foursquare. Women are from Facebook.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
Image via Wikipedia

A funny thing happened on the way to evaluating our non-profit agency’s social media results. We discovered that just as in the real world, there’s Mars/Venus connection.

Where are the boys online? Well besides the obvious suspects (sports, games, porn) They are hanging out on Foursquare and other geo-location sites by a 2:1 ratio.  Meanwhile, on our Facebook page, women outnumber men by the same ratio.

Of course, Foursquare isn’t nearly as popular as Facebook but there are some interesting takeaways about lifelong male/female behavior that the Internet can’t change!

Foursquare is a location-based social media forum where people check in online whenever they physically visit a real location. They may comment or simply check in. Many companies marketing on Foursquare offer tangible rewards for frequency whether it’s free drinks or free merchandise. But the biggest reward, apparently, is earning Foursquare’s “badges” and ultimately becoming “Mayor” of a location—an election of sorts for high frequency visitors.

Facebook is an entirely different community where the reinforcement for participation is in communicating with others who share your interests, friendships and activities. People don’t get rewarded for being on Facebook although marketeers avidly promote contests and other incentives to create more engaged consumers.  Facebook is the amped up, 21st century version of the old telephone “party line” where people are encouraged to “share” with others.

Foursquare’s male thrust may be its reward system which offers increased status for frequency without requiring commitment. The concept’s a little more macho, akin to an animal marking his territory. Also, there may be a natural hesitance for women to declare their real time location for safety concerns of stalking or robbery. At least, that’s what the women we talk to say.  Guys don’t worry as much about the personal threat of revealing their whereabouts. Not to mention the stereotype that men are more competitive and Foursquare promotes competition by awarding badges and mayoraltyies to high frequency participants.

Facebook, on the other hand, rewards the reputedly feminine traits of “sharing” and communicating. Women respond to helpful videos, cute kids and cuter pets. The language Facebook chooses to describe its service has a decidedly female bent, don’t you think, e.g. “Fan”  or “like” me? (You really really like me as SallyField so famously gushed).

I did a little googling and found some interesting confirming data to what our internal statistics showed.  The Pew Internet research folk who constantly monitor online behavior,  published a piece in the fall of 2010 showing exactly the same 2:1 ratio of men using location-based services like Foursquare. And a writer for The Economist blogged in 2011 about “The Secret Sexism of Social Media” in which she noted: “At this year’s SXSW festival held in March in Austin, I ran into a social-media wonk from New York and asked him how he had been enjoying it. He said it was great: he had won five badges from Foursquare…. securing the mayorship of his hotel’s pool. It occurred to me that I have yet to hear a woman brag about getting a badge from Foursquare, and that I never will. In fact, come to think of it, I barely hear women mention such services at all.”

After a lifetime of fighting sexist stereotypes, I shouldn’t be surprised to see that the sexes still divide along the Mars & Venus axis.

There’s a lot of funny lines waiting to be penned about this finding. But I’ll leave it to you to write them. But for those of us who make a living in marketing, it’s helpful to know where the boys (and girls) are.

Logo for Foursquare
Image via Wikipedia
Česky: Logo Facebooku English: Facebook logo E...
Image via Wikipedia

Top 10 posts of 2011. Vitamix, Moleskine, Netflix, Lululemon, Sushi Ran and more

Since everyone else is getting into the New Year‘s Countdown game of Top Ten Lists,  I figured I would, too. Especially since I just found a WordPress Dashboard feature I never noticed before. You can find your top posts for the year by clicking on the “this week” link and choosing another time frame.

There were quite a few surprises about what caught my readers’ fancy in 2011. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that posts ranting about name brands ( adoring Lululemon‘s butt factor, quitting Netflix, coveting Vitamix, etc.) would yield higher new visitor volume. But I also found that some of my quirkier reflections generated a constant stream of visits, including one optimistic post about the ever falling stock market (“The sun will come up tomorrow”).

A few other surprising posts nearly made it to the top ten including our magnificent “Sunol Wildflower Hike,” the importance of “Emergency Chocolate,” and the “Sweetness of a Saturday Morning.”

If you’re curious about my least viewed post, it was “Have you had work done,” a meditation on considering plastic surgery. You know what? I’m glad that most of you didn’t find that a compelling topic. I’m pretty much done with it, too. At least for this year!NoBlueHair’s Top 10 Posts of 2011

Vitamix vs. Kitchen Aid. Let the games begin. (or how I wasted a Sunday morning)

Why do we love Lululemon? Because they make our butts look good
Tossing more hats in the ring.
My beloved Moleskine gets a Fast Company rave.
More Grey Fashionistas
Is it unpatriotic to cancel netflix? More stats 64
The sun will come out tomorrow…
The best restaurant in San Francisco is in…Sausalito. Sushi Ran.
Groupon, Living Social, Homerun, Jetsetter. Dealing with deal a day addiction.
What do you do with expired medications? Send them to jail!

#what are you doing Christmas Day?

christmas 2007
Image by paparutzi via Flickr

If I were going to start a twitter trending topic, this would be my question. What are you doing Christmas Day?

Of course, all my Jewish friends will say Chinese food & a movie. My Christian friends will say opening presents and spending the day visiting and eating with family. But I bet there are lots of people who have much more creative ideas of how to spend this day.

#what are you doing Christmas Day, I’d write cooking a nice dinner, reading a good book and calling friends & family far away to see what they’re doing. Or maybe I’d clean out my closet, pay bills, go for a long walk, go to the gym (mine’s open), or buy more stuff online (full of holiday shame). Some years we’ve gone vacationing in Mexico where we forget it’s a holiday as we sip our margaritas and scarf guacamole and wait for the whole holiday hoopla to pass.

I know this is often the most depressing day of the year for some people because they are alone and far from loved ones. How will they spend the long holiday hours?

For others it’s an annual day of service to those in need. Their acts of kindness range from dropping off gifts to needy kids to visiting the hospitalized and homebound to feeding the hungry and homeless. These people are the true angels of light in the dark of winter.

What’s your Christmas plans? Tweet me @nobluehair or at #what are you doing Christmas Day?

Happy Holidays to all my regular readers, my occasional browsers and my random visitors who land here from google search words…I hope you did finally decide whether to get a Kitchen Aid or a Vitamix !

Catch New England Fall Color…in Northern California

We have less than a week till Fall is officially over but there’s still abundant brilliant foliage to be cherished before the trees go bare. Sure, New England‘s legendary Fall Color Spectacular  is hard to beat…but their winter hit early with a freak snow storm in October.

However, walking around Burlingame in the Peninsula these days, I can still find fiery reds, burnished oranges, buttery yellow and coppery brown leaves dazzling on trees in parks and  tree-lined streets. It’s an amazing color display and it’s in our own back yard. I’ve even seen glorious leaves as far south as Palo Alto.
Get yourself outside anywhere in the Northern Bay Area. Go enjoy the Christmas light displays in your neighborhood at night but look up, too, every day and cherish the fall color panoply on local trees. Pretty soon, we’ll be singing Simon & Garfunckle’s “All the leaves are gone and the skies are grey…” But right now, we still have golden days and branches laden with a palette of autumn tones.

Winter rains will be here soon enough!

My ‘baby boy’ is turning 30. Oh my!

I can’t believe I’m saying this out loud. It doesn’t seem possible that my 6 pound, 9 0z preemie is  now a strapping six footer who’s turning (shhh) 30. The big 3-0. How did this happen on my watch?

I used to be a participant in these events but am suddenly a spectator, experiencing the circle of life in triple step time. Be warned that there’s nothing profound about this blog post, but damned if these big O occasions don’t throw you for a loop.

My baby boy, once so small, so orange (he had jaundice) has become a lovely, accomplished, loving adult. He’s starting on his own triple step with the first step being getting engaged to his long-time (lovely) girlfriend. Marriage is coming up next and the patter of little feet won’t be too far off (I hope).

I was once the childhood bride, the barefoot hippie with the flower on my cheek. I was the young mom with two little boys juggling on top of the work/life balance beam. And after all this time, I must admit I’m pretty damn lucky…still with my barefoot beau and watching our boys become men.

It’s fantastically joyful to watch our children (even adult children) grow into their next phases. I may not be sitting & cheering in the bleachers at the little league game any more…but I’m looking forward to a front row seat at the wedding.

So…. in the immortal words of 1957 songwriters Margo Sylvia & Gilbert Lopez “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby” to my first born boy. May you live a gloriously long, happy, healthy and love-filled life. I’ll always be cheering you on from the sidelines. That’s what moms do. Even nobluehair moms.

Tis the Season for Fornasetti Lust

I was recently reminded of one of my favorite artists by, of all people, Ivanka Trump. In the November issue of Food & Wine, she lists Fornasetti’s  plates Themes and Variations among her favorite things.

If you’ve ever seen a Fornasetti image, you’ll understand why. Piero Fonasetti’s inventive use of graphics, architectural details and period touches transformed the most basic household and personal items to iconic objects of desire. Fornasetti spent his life in Milan, Italy and created over 11,000 items and graphic images, many of them starring the face of opera diva of the day, Lina Cavalieri.

His Julia plate features a woman’s sensuous visage imposed on clock face. It is part of the ultra luxe Rosenthal China collection which collectors can buy new or used. Fornasetti’s clever collection of neckties range from mathematical images to celestial ones, each one an exciting design play on what is often simply a boring fabric noose.

Even Fornasetti’s website is a visual delight. Please go now and see for yourself! To learn more about the artist, there are lots of Fornasetti articles online but my favorite is from designboom written by another famous Italian designer Ettore Sottsass.

My own deep desire is to sleep in Fornasetti’s bed in Italy. My husband’s fine with that as long as he can come along! Actually, Fornasetti’s son is keeping the dream alive by renting out rooms in an elegant guest apartment in Milan for vacationers seeking total Fornasetti immersion. The New York Times wrote about it here.

For a comprehensive overview, check out the illustrated Fornasetti:Designer of Dreams featuring many of his whimsical, amusing, fantastical and haunting designs.  In paperback, it’s selling for $32.18 on Amazon.

Holiday Gift Alert: Any family members or friends reading this post should note that any Fornasetti item would make a lovely holiday or birthday gift for moi! Of course, you may develop Fornasetti lust yourself which would be perfectly understandable!

You need to be a caveman to eat the Paleo Diet. Confessions of a carboholic

Ed-U-Card Flintstones Rummy
Image by andertoons via Flickr

I am not a caveman. I am a carbie…. a card carrying carbohydrate junkie. I tried the Paleo Diet (aka Caveman Diet) and flunked. Big time.

Two weeks ago, I decided to finally deal with the pounds I’ve been trying to lose for two years. Having heard about the great successes of the Paleo Diet, I decided to give it a try.

The Caveman Diet theorizes that people weren’t meant to eat our modern day, high carb diet but rather should exist mostly on animal protein and lots of raw fresh fruits and vegetable.  Not potatoes you need to stop and pull from the ground but the fruits you find hanging off a tree when you’re hauling a stegosourus carcass back to your cave. Caveman no eat bread. Me no eat bread. or cookies. or cake. or ice cream. or chocolate. That was the plan.

This diet did not work. Sorry, Flintstones but I am a not a caveman. I am a carboholic. My mind and body rebelled. Not to mention that I’m not even a carnivore. The dinosaurs would surely still be around if I lived in Paleolithic times.

For two weeks, I tried to consume more chicken,  fish, turkey and eggs. I ate fruit and veggies, mostly raw. I hated it. I was sad and hungry. So, one day I gave myself a tiny little treat. A hard candy. It’s just a little tiny speck of sugar, I told myself.  Then I had a cookie at a baby shower (can’t be a curmudgeon at a party). Then ice cream and berry pie at a friend’s house. (you can’t insult your friends).  So, why the hell not eat a bagel on Sunday morning. The program is shot to hell anyways.

So, now I’m back to eating carbs, carbs carbs. Those  pounds are destined to stick around (and i do mean round). I just hope more pounds don’t join them. And there was a retirement party today with lots of carbolicious treats. And, really, the holidays are no time to act like a neaderthal.

Paleo Diet be gone. I’m back to enjoying all my basic food groups (cookies, ice cream, chocolate & bread). Happy Holidays to me. I am not a caveman. I am a human being. A happy one.

Experimenting with a Paleo diet to try to comb...
Image by J Deamer via Flickr