Crowdsourcing for SOSU Barrel-Aged Sriracha

The first thing I loved about Kickstarter was the menu for finding projects, specifically its language. Where do you want to look? Earth sounds good. Sort by magic? Sounds reasonable. The category I chose was food and there are currently 5,389 projects available. I identified one project I would love to get funded. Actually, I posted information about it on Facebook to see if some of my friends would do it.

The project is SOSU Barrel-Aged Sriracha, a version of the well-known chili hot sauce. The different thing about this one is that it is aged for 1-3 months in whiskey barrels with no preservatives, additives, and made in small batches. Can you imagine a hot sauce with the smokiness flavor brought by the barrels? Because of my obsession with this hot sauce, I decided to take a look at the project. I use hot and chili sauces in soups, sandwiches, ketchup, rice, beans, meats, tacos, among others. However, most hot and chili sauces do not have any flavor. Sriracha is an alternative with flavor, but I would imagine the flavor would be bolder with a product like this one!

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The first and second parts have already been funded. First one was $20,000 to make the first two batches and the second one raised $60,000 for bigger equipment and offering more products. These products, Barrel-Aged Hot Sauce and Sriracha salt, are the result of their philosophy not to waste leftover ingredients. So, from the production of Barrel-Aged Sriracha they were able to yield two new products.

Currently, they are looking to reach a new goal of $100,000 for a permanent production location and personnel. So, now that they have been able to secure production they need a plant; now that people are “backing” them and their products, they need more help to get going. The $100,000 goal is accompanied by a stretch goal reward, in which anyone buying one jar of their product will receive a 4oz jar of Sambal Oelek, a thicker version of Sriracha. The interesting thing is that in some instances, they already have the number of backers they need. For example, in order to receive early release and limited editions of the product, they were asking for a $25, $100 or $250 pledge. These are gone! Also, in order to own a share in the barrel of Sriracha, they are looking for $750 or more and they already got 7 out of 10! This is a project I would love to see completely funded, because the product is an alternative to the original version of Sriracha. For people like me, who put hot sauce and chili sauce to lots of food, this means a lot! By the time I am finishing this post, I decided to pledge $25.00 to this project.

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Googling myself

For this week’s assignment, I googled my name, Celeste Martínez with and without the accent in the letter “i” of my last name. As a third option, I also decided to search for my full name, María Celeste Martínez Pérez (please don’t call me Maria, I never use it!). The search results for the first two searches were the same in terms of search results. The only different thing was the order of the search results. Here are some findings: Celeste Martínez/Celeste Martinez

  • First on the list: Linked-In profiles containing Celeste Martínez (when I opened this link my name was the fourth one)
  • Search results 2, 3 and 4 were Facebook profile results of people named like me (specific Facebook pages)
  • Result 5 was my Facebook page, but not a link to my page. It read: Celeste Martinez Profiles Facebook
  • The other results on page 1 had nothing to do with me. They were Facebook and Twitter pages for other people with my name
  • Images: See it below (I don’t even know what to say, specially about that Superwoman! If you have an interpretation about it, I would live to hear!

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  • None of the list of videos was actually mine.
  • No Celeste Martínez found in the news section. The results just contained either Celeste or Martínez

María Celeste Martínez

  • Search result #1 was a Facebook profile of another person
  • Three other results were related to my name and Masafina. I guess this is because I only use María for official documents (license, permits)
  • One of the results was an article on a local newspaper about Masafina, but the funny thing here is that in my name, only the word Martinez is bold. The María that appears bold is the name of my business partner, not mine.
  • Other results were for some woman in Spain

I have to say I felt very relieved because at least I found that there are not that many details about myself. This was very strange so I decided to search for Celeste Martínez Puerto Rico. Same thing: the only information related to me was my LinkedIn profile. The rest was ancestry.com related. Go figure. Here are the Google images for that search, in which none of them is me: Image I think one of the reasons my information seems to be private is that, for example, in Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, my screen names are buzzworthy (name of my company), instead of using my full name. Only in Facebook and LinkedIn I use my full name, which is why it is seen on the results. Before this assignment, I was scared to take a look at this information because I thought I was going to find more information. Now I have to say that I am both relieved and mad because I could find more information! Celeste Martinez Buzzworthy turned search results are related and associated with my company. Finally, I search for my email address, celeste@buzzworthycreations.com and the results were all related (for obvious reasons) to my company. The first result was my company’s website. The rest of the results were company directory websites (latinamarketplace.com and manta.com, for example) in which my company has presence. The email I had before that, noestoy9@hotmail.com turned no results. I definitely need to be more active and post some more to build a profesional reputation!

My experience with The Home Depot’s app

I love going to The Home Depot. Luckily, in December they opened one near my house. I had to visit the store last month a couple of times because we were in the process of painting the exterior of the house and that is were we decided to purchase paint. I knew there was a Home Depot app, but hesitated to download it because most of the time the information and prices of the apps do not apply to Puerto Rico, even though we are a US territory.

For this assignment, I downloaded the app and played with it for a while. The first thing it asks is permission to check your location in order to find the nearest store. So, global positioning? Yes. Then, it asks for permission to access your microphone so you can perform voice search. The main menu of the app consists of the following: shop, store finder, my account, local ad, workshops, my history, gift center, gift cards and toolbox.

I began to shop for paint, specifically interior wall paint. When I accessed the menu of paints, it had different submenus, like exterior, interior, primers, brushes and rollers, ect. I chose interior paint and a new menu appeared to help me narrow my choices. I picked wall paint and finally filtered my choices: the brand (BEHR), size (gallon), type (water-based) and color (grays). This list is part of my search results. The frustrating part is that none of these items were available for store pick up in Puerto Rico.

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Then I decided to look for a not so specific search to see if I could find something available for pick-up at the store. I searched the primers category and was able to find a list of results that were available, included reviews, specifications, product stock, and overview. At the bottom part of the screen there were other related items I might be interested in purchasing, such as a room heater. I am not so sure how that item would be related.

The other part of the main menu is the local ad. Here, I was able to see a list of items with photos of the items that were on sale for this week. The information about the products was in Spanish. Some of them could only be ordered online and others were available to pick up at the store. From that screen with the specials, I was able to select an item on sale and  just add it to my cart and checkout. This process included letting Home Depot know who was going to pick up the item and when. Also, there was an option for “notifying when order is ready for pickup” via text message. There are some items that can be purchased without having to go to the store and see them so this application is good to save some time. Most of the time I go to the store I know what I need so next time I’ll try to make the purchase in advance and pick it up.

The Workshops menu is divided into the following: do-it-yourself, do-it-herself and kids. In the do-it-herself screen I was able to see that there is an workshop about installing glass mosaic backsplash in March 20 at 6:30pm. That might be interesting… The My History menu has a list of all the searches I performed today, in case I need to go back to it. The Gift Center has different types of gift ideas, divided by price (gifts under $20) and other categories (outdoor gifts). I loved the Toolbox because it even has a nut & bolt finder in which you can measure the size of the nut or bolt you need. Then you can save it to your profile so when you visit the store you can find it by that size. There is also a caliper, which you can use to measure length and width of objects for your home improvement.

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Home Depot stores are huge and can be a little bit overwhelming. For example, right now we are looking at different floor lamps for the living room. I just took a look at the app and there are 116 options under the “lamps and shades” category, which I can then filter by price according to my budget and then choose the top 3 to go look at the store. I think the application is great for people who want to narrow down choices and then go to the store. It’s also good if a person knows which specific items they need to order and avoid the lines at the cashier. And….GPS is needed if you want the app to give you information about store inventory and driving directions.

Where did my hair go in Second Life?

Even though I consider myself computer literate, this task made me feel like a complete incapable person of doing something in a computer! I downloaded the program, which was the easiest part. I had to choose an avatar to create an account and username. There were not so many options to choose from so I decided to go with the most similar one to myself hoping to change it when I got to the first screen. That is where I found that there were some other avatars, including vehicles and robots, which I did not want to be.

I started to navigate the top left menu and was happy to find the part of editing my appearance. I was so excited that I started selecting everything, up to the point in which I ended up wearing like 15 pieces of cloth and accessories at the same time (see picture). I was wearing jeans, jacket and skirt at the same time and could not figure out how to remove those. After I found where to edit my look, finally, I got so excited that I ended up with no hair and there was no way back! After adjusting my nose, body, face, makeup, and shoes (see photo #2), I tried finding my hair and never found it. So I gave up!

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After accepting that I was going to have no hair, I decided to walk around, run and fly to different places. Suddenly, for some reason I moved from Welcome Island to Temple of Iris, where there were a couple of screens I tried to touch for video tutorials and the links did not work. Then, I decided to go to Spain, under International Destinations, but I had no access. So I decided to visit Turkey (Turkiye), but I do not speak the language so I had to leave. I can say I appreciate the powerful graphics and understand that there are no limits in this virtual world, but I just couldn’t find something useful or meaningful to me. I tried using the chat feature and no one nearby answered.

When I was about to give up because my imagination and creativity skills felt short and I couldn’t understand what could be done in Second Life, I decided to go to NCI Kula-New Citizens Incorporated, under the newcomer friendly category to try something easier. As soon as I got there, I started to receive objects, began to walk around and found tutorials and finally, I was able to build and enjoy a hot air balloon flight! I also tried to play Simon and was told that people in the chat that I had the wrong sequence. Finally, I decided to sit at the main plaza and I met some people who finally talked to me. I asked them why there were some people dancing, which I love to do, and they taught me how to do it. I had to touch a white dance ball and select the type of dance. I ended at some dance party with really cool music dancing with people and animals! Funny thing is that I did not know how to stop dancing so I kept on moving around with some dance moves.

I now understand how an average person spends 20 hours using Second Life. I achieved very little in 3 hours, so I guess the possibilities are endless. I do have to say that people need to like virtual worlds in order to spend more time. Honestly, I never heard about Second Life before so this has given me an opportunity to learn something new. My conclusion is that virtual worlds offer researchers a lot of potential material to study. It would be very worthwhile to just sit in any of the destinations and observe what people do, what they say, how they speak and how they interact with others. Another interesting area would be analyzing avatars, how they differ, what conceptions people have about themselves or their alter ego. It is definitely a different world; I rather stay in this world!

Social Media in Puerto Rico-Results of the Survey

I have to begin by expressing my deepest frustration regarding the low amount of participants in my survey about social media in Puerto Rico. Out of my combined Facebook friends and Twitter followers of 600+, I just received 51 completed surveys. In order to distribute this survey, I posted it in my Facebook and Twitter accounts multiple times and at different days of the week and time. Also, when I posted it, I invited people to share it with their friends and followers. One of my friends, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, shared it with her students on her Facebook page and even offered extra credit (results for that: 4 surveys). However, I was able to see some trends and obtained some interesting results, some expected and some unexpected. I also noticed that one of the questions was not formulated in a clear way; this affected the results of that particular question (I will get to that in my discussion about the results below). Out of the total respondents, 82% are female, which is totally understandable since most of my friends are female. As far as age group, 73% of respondents are between the ages of 35-54 (that gives you more information about my age) and 92% have at least 2 social network accounts. It was no surprise that Facebook was the top social network (96% mentioned in the question: With which of these social networks do you have an active account? The next two were Instagram and the third place was tied with Twitter and LinkedIn, which was a shocker since I thought Twitter would be second or third, but by a highest percentage. Maybe this was due to the fact that the question had the option of checking “all that apply”

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  Out of all respondents, 78% indicated they actively participate when they login to their accounts by comment, sharing, or posting status. That leaves 22% who live as I say “in the bushes,” just checking out stuff right? In ranking social networks by preference, Facebook is at the top of the list (82% of participants ranked it #1), followed by Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. LinkedIn, which was mentioned more as an active account, occupies the 6th position in the preference list out of 8. I guess people associate it with business related stuff, maybe not so much fun. Another shocker was YouTube, ranking a little bit above Pinterest, which I thought would be higher due to the high number of women who participated. A potential next question would have been why they access each one and their expectations about each of the social networks, specifically in terms of content. How often participants check their favorite social network? 80% of the respondents say more than once a day; combined, 98% of respondents at least once a day. Now I want to know how many times and day and when! The next question is the one with the error since it read: How often do you check other social media accounts? Facebook was mentioned at the top under the “more than once a day,” which is not possible because it was mentioned before as the favorite social network, which people check more than once a day. When I checked, I put no option in the survey that would omit Facebook from the possible results. This affected the ranking of the other social networks. However, it was surprising to see that 35% of the respondents never check their Twitter account, which is almost the same percentage of the ones that check it at least once a week. Other accounts never checked are Vine and Google+. Other than Facebook and Instagram, the total amount of respondents checking their accounts adding up daily+weekly, monthly or never is almost distributed equally. Image A majority of respondents, 92% access their social network accounts from their smartphones and the top three reasons for why they use them are social interaction, entertainment, and information seeking. Here, a potential question to follow would have been a list of specific answers under each category to have a deeper understanding. Some results were expected, such as Facebook ranking higher, but some were unexpected, such as Instagram ranking above Twitter. Also, I honestly thought that more people checked the social network accounts once a day, not more than once a day. The increasing trend of more smartphone usage is also evidenced here. In the future, I might put together another survey to get more insight about each social network usage.

Social Media Networks in Puerto Rico

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This week’s assignment about surveys was fun! The fact that there is little information available in Puerto Rico about the use of social media networks here inspired me to find out more about this. I decided to make the survey using SurveyMonkey, which I have used before to complete other surveys and I find very user friendly. This is the first survey I make and I have to say I was surprised to see how many features it has and the countless options to customize the survey, even in the free trial!

With this survey, Social Media Networks in Puerto Rico, I want to find out specifically if people in Puerto Rico have more than one social network account, how frequent they access these accounts and which social media networking sites are the top three used. The survey consisted of ten questions, two of them about demographics and the other eight about social network usage. In relation to demographics, I only considered gender and age were appropriate. Since I posted the survey on both Facebook and LinkedIn, where the ages of my friends and followers range from 30 to 70, I consider age very important since the preferred social networks may be different according to age (I will see when I get the results). In Facebook, there are 565 possible respondents and in LinkedIn there are more than 50 persons on my network.

The other questions were specifically about the use of social media networks, including if they have more than one social network account, which social media networks they use, which are their favorite, how frequent they access them and why they access them. Finally, I asked if they access social media from their tablet, computer or smartphone. As you have read in other posts I’ve written, I am under the impression that most people here only have Facebook, but recently I have seen a lot of people using Instagram. This is why I want to find out which will also help me promote my promotional products business.

The questions are very general, but will give me a clear understanding of the social media usage trend in Puerto Rico. You can find the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QKXPW8M.

Ben & Jerry’s-SEO keywords assignment

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Ben & Jerry’s is my favorite ice cream; the brand I turn to whenever I have a craving for sweets. When this happens, I don’t think about a chocolate bar or hard candy. Ice cream is what satisfies my cravings and Ben & Jerry’s is the brand I choose for many reasons, including quality and creaminess, as well as the fact that it is fun, creative and socially/environmentally responsible. The names of the flavors of the ice cream are creative and sometimes controversial, like Alex Baldwin’s Scweddy Balls (related to a Saturday Night Live character).

This week’s assignment gave me the opportunity to see if Ben & Jerry’s was effectively using keywords for SEO. The results were surprising. First, Wikipedia came out in the first position in 90% of the searches I made, which only makes me wonder if they are more aggressive than multinational products or brands in SEO strategies.

These are the keywords I used and Ben & Jerry’s website position* on the Google search:

1. Ice Cream- page 3, 2nd

2. Dessert- not found

3. Vermont- not found

4. Cherry Garcia- page 1, 1st

5. Waffle cone- page 5, 7th

6. Cookie dough- page 4, 8th

7. Creamy ice cream (ice cream is considered one word)-  not found

8. Fair Trade ice cream- page 1, 1st

9. Sweets craving- not found

10. Hot fudge- not found

*Results were obtained from the first 20 pages.

I was shocked to find that my favorite brand is not on the first page of results when I type the name of the category in which it belongs: ice cream. The first page of results features 6 other ice cream brands and mine is not there! Also, Ben & Jerry’s slogan is “Vermont’s Finest.” They are made in Vermont and that is important enough to be part of the slogan and package, so why isn’t it one of the keywords for SEO? The only instances in which Ben & Jerry’s was in the first page of the results were those related to a specific aspect of the brand, such as the name of a flavor (Cherry Garcia) and Fair Trade ice cream (which they promote strongly and are associated with supporting).

Looking at the coding of www.benjerry.com (I typed www.benandjerrys.com and was redirected to their website), I found the following keyword meta tags: Fairtrade, fair trade, fair trade ice cream, Ben & Jerry, Ben and Jerry, ice cream, dessert, desserts, ice cream maker, grocery store, franchise, scoop, recipe, sorbet, frozen yogurt, ice cream flavors, ice cream parlors, greek frozen yogurt, premium ice cream. So, I got only 2 out of 10! If one thing is sure is that the company cares about Fair Trade enough to put the keyword in three possible ways of writing it, misspelling included! Also, the keyword dessert is included in their coding, yet when I searched Google, their website was nowhere in the first 20 pages of search results. I

The relationship between my search and the Ben & Jerry’s website position within a results page is almost none, at least based on the terms I associate with this brand. Based on what I am learning about SEO in this class and looking at some other blog entries related to this matter, I think Ben & Jerry’s and other brands need to strategize better in this area, look more into their customer’s way of thinking at the moment they make a web search, identify what they think about a particular brand, and consider integrating more they keywords (in alt tags and html) that are relevant to them. This will help companies like the one I chose be at a better position in search engines.