Social Media & SEO – my talk from last night’s #deepspace

space150 threw another Deepspace event last night!  This one was all about SEO, so i got to share some of my thoughts on the subject.  I will probably write more later (let’s be honest, I probably won’t), but here is my deck of slides for the talk.  My topic was “Social Media and SEO” – I explored the search engine ranking benefits that can be gained from companies getting involved in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc.  I also explored the differences between companies getting involved in 3rd party social media sights, vs creating their own social media portal specific to their brand.

I’ll leave the comments section open (let’s hope for a record setting 5 comments on this post!) by asking you a few questions:

Have you had interaction with companies/brands on social media sites like facebook or twitter?

How did it make you feel?

Who is doing this weel?

Who rubbed you the wrong way?

Posted in smartie pants | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Art is the Search for God.

Since I haven’t written anything in a LONG while…I thought I would open up a little mini-discussion around my Senior Thesis: “Let The Painter Preach.”  This was written almost 5 years ago, before I entered the–ehem “real world,” but for the most part, I think this is still quite in line with my views and beliefs.

Here is a sample to whet your appetite (or completely turn you off):

Flannery O’Conner defined art this way: “The basis of art is truth, both in matter and in mode. The person who aims after art in his work aims after truth.”. An archer aims an arrow at his target. Whether he hits it or not, he is ultimately striving to hit the bull’s-eye. In the same way, an artist strives for truth. As he expresses something from deep inside of himself, he is searching for truth.

Augustine said, “When I search for truth, and I arrive at truth, I find God.” If truth existed outside of God, he would not be God. So then, any search for ultimate truth will be found only in an ultimate God.

Art is the search for God.

So here you go, the culmination of my college education at Azusa Pacifc University:

Let the Painter Preach (and the preach paint?) An Essay on the Relationship Between the Church and the Arts.”

by Craig Key.

PS My mom was quick to point our there are some Type-o’s in there.  Sorry mom.  I still graduated.

Posted in smartie pants | Leave a comment

My Visited States

Amy and Adam inspired me to do my own “Visited States” map – and I had the opposite reaction as Adam did after seeing my map – this is much more impressive than I thought it would be!

In full discosure, some of these states (Kansas, Indiana, Wyoming, New Mexico, a couple more) were basically just states I drove through on my way to somewhere else, but still–I’m pretty lucky to have seen a good chunk of this country.  Now I really feel like I need to fill in some of these gaps!

PS – I might have gone through Maryland when I visited D.C. but I can’t remember, so I’m keeping it off 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Dear World: I Got a New Job!

Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues (past, present, future), and complete strangers:

I’m happy to announce that I have accepted a position with space150 in Minneapolis, working in Search Engine Optimization.  I will probably write more about this in the coming weeks, and I’m thrilled to join such a brilliant group at ‘the Space.’  But first I wanted to share/vent/ramble about quitting my current job.

Yesterday afternoon I had to make one of the hardest phone calls I’ve ever made.  I had to call my boss – a woman who has been a mentor to me since I interned for her over 4 years ago – and tell her that I’ve accepted another job.  A call like this is obviously disappointing to any employer – and as luck wouldn’t have it, I had to interrupt her on her day off – while she was at Disneyland, of all places!

It was hard.  Really hard.  I managed to get everything out (I might recommend having notes for difficult calls like this one).  I sort of tried to explain some things about why I felt I should leave (all while I can hear children screaming on the rides behind her), then I really screwed myself over by telling her how much I respected her and cared about her – and I lost it!  I got all choked up and could barely get the words out, but I got through it and got off the phone.  She was, by the way, very kind and courteous – though obviously disappointed.

I’m proud of the work I did at 5 Alarm Music: the clients I took care of, the business I generated, the marketing initiatives, and the relationships that I have established.  I will enjoy watching that company grow, as I’m sure it will.  I’ll just be watching from the outside now.  The next two weeks might be strange and awkward, but I’m looking forward to wrapping up this chapter, and starting a new one.

In any case – yesterday was bittersweet, but the hardest part is over, and I am thrilled about joining the ranks at space150.  You’ll probably hear me geeking out about SEO a little more often – although this is still my personal blog, and I plan on keeping it personal.  Sorry, that means you’re still stuck with half-written lists of life lessons, silly stories of killing baby birds, and gratuitous polls trying to teach my wife gender lessons.

Thanks for reading.  I’ve been looking forward to this day, and I’m happy to share it with you!

Posted in tech | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Social Media Movement 1-2-3 (just add water)

Friday was a fun and interesting day for me.  Julio Ojeda-Zapata (tech writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press) summed up the day’s events nicely.  For the sake of this post, I’ll just say that a movement was started centering around the idea of Chipotle opening their doors a little earlier, and serving Breakfast Burritos (I know right?).  I thought I would recap from my point of view what was a cheap, and easy way to facilitate a social media movement, which could be applicable to infinate other ideas.  Here goes:

Step 1: Find the influencers

Social media buzz is difficult to create on your own.  However, with a few of the right people, you can quickly reach a wide audience who will in turn reach their audience, and so on.  In this case, I mentioned Chipotle Gift cards as currency on twitter, and I have a relatively small following (about 175 people).  But Jon Mierow, who is active in the Twin Cities Social Media Scene, has more followers (218), but more importantly is connected to some bigger influencers.  Within minutes after Jon proclaimed his desire for Breakfast Burritos at Chipotle, Mike Keliher (1600+ followers) and Julio Ojeda-Zapada (1100+ folowers; the guy is writing a book about twitter, not to mention being a burrito connoisseur) were chiming in and bringing our movement to the eyeballs of 2,000+ people (their followers probably have some overlap).

By myself, I really don’t pull much weight (no seriously, I’ve tried).  But with the right influencers on board, a movement was born.   Find the influencers to help create buzz, and get them in on a movement before you start spending your press.

Step 1.5: Share it, don’t sell it.

(since this is a 3 step post, I had to squeeze this in as a half step).  In the case of #chipotlebreakfast, none of us have any commercial or monetary interest in the movement.  We just all happened to agree that this would be completly awesometastic.  If you are running a business, and looking to leverage Social Media for profit, get creative about what “movement” you want to start.

An example from my day job: I don’t don’t think I could easily get people on board with a “5 Alarm Music” Movement.  Getting people to commit to a brand is very difficult (but bravo if you can accomplish this).  I might have some luck, however getting people on board with “People Against Sucky Spots and Promos” (PASSAP) movement.  Don’t aim for the sales bullseye with your movement, aim for the fringes where people might join you, and then ask themselves “who is this company anyway? What are they all about?”

Step 2: Act quickly

In the case of #chipotlebreakfast, Mike called for a “full court press” at 9:22 am, I purchased “chipotlebreakfast.com” at by 9:55 (this was the only thing I spent money on: $18 for private regestered domain), setup the twitter account by 10:06, opened the site for registration, and invited the influencers to write by 12:17pm, and finally I setup the facebook group around 2:00pm.

This quick movement allowed the buzz to trickle out from twitter, to the blogosphere, to facebook, and beyond very quickly.  I might have suggested getting all of these things in place ahead of time for a pre-planned movement, but honestly–the impromptu nature of this, and keeping the followers posted along the way seemed to add to the excitement.  I think if this got started, and suddenly the blog, facebook group, etc were already up and polished, users might smell a sales pitch and be less likely to commit to the cause.

By Saturday morning, I had 3 blog posts (two of which were not written by me),  15 blog comments (I’m lucky if I get 2  comments on a post here!), over 90 “tweets” about #chipotlebreakfast, a facebook group with almost 100 members and growing, AND (get ready) an official response from Chipotle!  That’s right folks, after less than 24 hours, we few Minnesotan, burrito lovers got the attention of one of the fastest growing fast food companies in the world!

Step 3: Social Media Tools are cheap and easy; Diversify.

As I already mentioned, the only money I spent was buying the domain name–and even that wasn’t a must.  I could have set up the blog on wordpress.com (actually, I did at first, then I changed to self hosted wordpress b/c I like it better), or blogger.com.   Facebook and twitter were also free.  I could have used any number of other outlets to spread the word, here is a short list of free online social communities that could be effective in creating buzz:

  • myspace (annoying ads aside, this still has a huge reader base, and is still a big player in social media)
  • ning.com (very easy way to start an online community)
  • plurk, pownce, tumblr, etc (these are all micro-blogging sites similar to twitter)
  • last.fm, or pandora.com (music sites for a burrito movement? Sure, why not? Music is an easy way to connect with people.  Create a channel which represents your movement.  For example, “The 90s were so mint” by rockworms.com –does anyone want to volunteer to make “breakfast burrito radio”? 🙂
  • Youtube, Vimeo, or Blip.tv (if you have means to do it, bring some video content to the table.  Our attention spans are much too short to read long-winded blogposts like this one.

The point is, use more than one avenue to reach your audience.  Twitter is a fantastic online community, but 3/4 of my friends either haven’t heard of it, or if they have, they just don’t get it.  Diversify your channels of exporting information to the masses (or in this case, the hundred(s(ish)).

I will keep you (both) posted on #chipotlebreakfast.  The “probably not” response from Joe @ Chipotle HQ took a little wind out of our sails, but overall it is apparant that this touched a nerve with hundreds of people, and more than likely there are thousands more that would hop on board too if they heard about it.

Posted in smartie pants | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Vote for the independent! Dean Barkley for Senate #votefordean

Politics Suck

I’m really sick of politics.  Why is that every election season we seem forced to choose the lesser evil?  I swear,  between ads from McCain / Obama, Madia / Paulson, and Coleman /Franken, I really want to shoot my TV.  I am actually happy when an ad comes on TV that is for a product or service, and not for one of these jerks.  I welcome the marketing exec’s of Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Ford, GM, hell–I even like promos for stupid reality shows better than I like watching political smear campaigns.

Chuck Norris for MN SenateSince we’re less than a month away from going to the polls, I actually feel the need to start caring about this stuff, and I’m so sick of Al Franken and Norm Coleman I could puke.  I watched the  some of the debate, this week and in all honesty, Dean Barkley didn’t impress me any more or less than the other two, but honestly it was just refreshing to know that there was a 3rd option besides tweetle-dee and tweetle-dum.

Independent in Minnesota? That could never happen!

I didn’t give it too much thought, because the general consensus is that voting for a 3rd party is throwing your vote away.  But this morning I heard that Franken is leading Coleman 38% to 36%, with Barkley at 18% leaving 8% undecided.  18% for an independent?  That’s not bad folks!  Do you know what that is?  Hope!

Ok, some of you are probably pretty far on one side or the other.  But I beg you, just check out Dean Barkley, read his stance on the issues, and ask your self if this guy isn’t better than either of the other two candidates.  I think everyone can agree that “partisan politics” (cliche, pukety-puke-puke) are bogging down Washington, and I for one would rather send an Independent senator there, than a Demo, or Repo. That’s all.

#votefordean

Oh, and I’m starting a twitter hashtag: #votefordean.  If you’re with me (even if you’re only 18% with me) give a shout out to #votefordean.

Posted in smartie pants | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Baby Robins: A Tribute

I didn’t want to leave the baby robins memory on such a sad note.  So yesterday when I needed to test out the Sonicfire Pro software (it’s cool, by the way), I grabbed some of that footage and played around a little.  So let’s all remember these baby robins and their short little lives for what they did bring: joy, happiness, and a few less worms in my yard.

Thank you for that Baby Robins.  Thank you.

Oh, and the subtitles are b/c I was showing off the audio edits which you may not have noticed otherwise–that was what testing the software part was all about.

Posted in funny pants | 2 Comments

Family Guy Teaches us That They Don’t Write Songs Like They Used To

Posted in funny pants | 1 Comment

I think I’ll write a book.

I’ve always said…that if I were to publish a book, I would publish it as “C. Lawton Key” because I think that sounds much more smartie-pants than “Craig Key.”  I could go for the full thing “Craig Lawton Key,” but that makes me feel like I’m in trouble or something [in a mother’s yelling voice] “CRAIG LAWTON KEY!”

While rambling through flickr this morning I saw a promotion for Blurb.com – “Real Books Made By You”.   I love finding new companies online that make me go “wow–I want that!” and this is definitely one of them!  High quality books that look great (at least on their site they do), at decent prices (low end about $13–high end about $60).  My friends are wedding photographers, I wonder if they know about it yet?

"blurb 1" by crowderb on flickrAnyway, until now I hadn’t given much thought to what I would write about…because I thought I would need to be all kinds of expert on one subject, or another (which, FYI: I am not).  But now it seems, that just like other media outlets which allow untalented nobodies to publish their content to the world, we nobodies now have a book publishing platform too!  I really have no idea what the book will be about… the production music biz?  My never ending struggle to conquer google?  Maybe I’ll condense my anatomy of the relationship between the church and the arts?

It really made me want to think of something intelligent and say it.  So I have decided to take pre-orders now!  Who wants to read my not-yet-existent, not-yet-topical, possibly mediocre book?  And guess what…if I get 10 (count ’em) orders, I will pay for half your book– (I think I’ll go for the standard landscape model with a dust cover), so it will cost us each $15.  I will promise to work hard on it, and say something that I think is really important…even though I don’t know what that is yet.

Preorders are now OPEN in the comments section:

PS Less than 10 people read this blog…which means 10 books will be HUGE.

PPS  I have no time frame for when my book will be finished.  So don’t ask.  But you can pay me after you get it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments