If you were on Facebook last week, you had to have seen all of the red equal signs as your friends’ profile pictures as a sign of support for same sex marriage. From what I can tell, it started as part of the Human Rights Campaign‘s effort to increase awareness and show support for marriage equality.

First I saw the equal signs. Then they started to change color. Then came the rings which seemed creative until I saw the cakes and Rothkos. (If this has helped to increase appreciation for modern art, that would be great.) Hearts started to show up along with animals. Of course there were the cats, and more cats. But then the dogs started coming and as I looked around, there were some other animals as well. Characters began to appear. Star Wars, Star Trek and Sesame Street seem to be favorites. Video game characters would not be left behind and several appeared animated. Superheroes, well my friends who know me well know that once I saw a Wonder Woman equal sign, I was hooked. And with the unicorns (the running joke in my house is that when asked what I would do if I had the last living unicorn, my answer without pause was “Eat it”) I had to see what else there was.

There were maps, flags and religious symbols. The last flag I found was the most satisfying as it integrated the equal sign into the flag. I had been wondering why no one had done that. It seems that the season is important to the development of memes like this as there was a lot matzah for Passover and Easter brought us bunnies, eggs, peeps and the like.

The last I found were the personalized images. I finally gave up gathering those as there was little diversity among the ones I uncovered last. My favorite was the one with the iPhone as it almost captures the meme of Congressional photos that will force someone to resign. While I would have expected to see Hilary Clinton in one, John Boehner was hilarious and the one that incorporated the 9 Supreme Court justices was creative. John Cusack switching from Peter Gabriel to an equal sign was good as was the planting of the equal sign on the moon.

Below you will find what may be the most comprehensive collection of equal signs from last week. I don’t want to debate the issues so please don’t comment on them. I will admit that one of the images was created as an anti-abortion icon and the artist did not want it to be included as a pro-marriage equality icon. Screw it… I did. I’m also not sure if the guns are for or against as freedom to bear any arms tends to be popular in the same states that are overwhelmingly opposed to same sex marriage.  Back to my point, I gathered these images as I am intrigued by the iconography surrounding this issue. It spread quickly, broadly and, most of all, creatively. I haven’t counted but I think there are approximately 400 images here.

There was one thing missing: a QR Code. Regular readers will note that I love QR codes and wish they would take off. So, I created one for the HRC:






Oh, for the faint of heart, stop before the end which is where the NSFW images are. If you were wondering if there were any with penises, remember that this is the internet.

Note that some (e.g. one of the Pongs) are animated but WordPress doesn’t want to display that. Consider them appropriately Easter Eggs for you to find and click through.

If you’ve seen more, please add them in the comments. If you want to debate the issues, please return to Facebook and talk amongst your friends.



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Google+ without Businesses is Google-….

by David on July 25, 2011

… or is it MySpace?

There is outrage across the blogosphere about Google’s decision to delete Google Plus accounts created by businesses and not individuals. Google doesn’t want business on Google+… yet. Google announced that businesses could sign up by July 15th to be part of a beta program and when tens of thousands of businesses and non-profits applied, cancelled the test. Um, who is surprised that tens of thousands applied to a little known Google program? If the barriers were removed, it would be millions by the end of the month. This is Google we are talking about!

A post from Christian Oestlien The Google+ Project | Ads Guy on Google+ states:

A few weeks ago we mentioned we would be doing a test of business profiles and asked people interested to apply. Believe it or not we actually had tens of thousands of businesses, charities, and other organizations apply to take part from all over the world. Many of you have reached out to me personally through Google+, e-mail, chat, and even other Googlers. Thank you. Your response has been humbling.

With so many qualified candidates expressing intense interest in business profiles, we’ve been thinking hard about how to handle this process. Your enthusiasm obligates us to do more to get businesses involved in Google+ in the right way, and we have to do it faster. As a result, we have refocused a few priorities and we expect to have an initial version of businesses profiles up and running for EVERYONE in the next few months. There may be a tiny handful business profiles that will remain in the meantime solely for the purpose of testing how businesses interact with consumers.

In the meantime, we ask you not to create a business profile using regular profiles on Google+. The platform at the moment is not built for the business use case, and we want to help you build long-term relationships with your customers. Doing it right is worth the wait. We will continue to disable business profiles using regular profiles. We recommend you find a real person who is willing to represent your organization on Google+ using a real profile as him-or-herself.

It appears that Google wants to offer special pages for businesses to use and either didn’t realize that businessses would want to use Google+ or didn’t have time to build the pages. In another post, Christian writes:

We have been watching Google+ take shape over the last week and we’ve seen some really great companies get involved. But frankly we know our product as it stands is not optimally suited to their needs. In fact, it was kind of an awkward moment for us when we asked Ford for his (or was it her?) gender!

That’s just silly. Christian continues:

How users communicate with each other is different from how they communicate with brands, and we want to create an optimal experience for both. We have a great team of engineers actively building an amazing Google+ experience for businesses, and we will have something to show the world later this year.

Looking at the Facebook and Twitter icons on every website, store front, catalog and piece of marketing material, it is hard to imagine that Google would consider launching its third(?) foray into social networking and not be prepared. Facebook has had huge success with the variety of brand pages it offers. I find it hard to believe that Google’s team built Google+ without looking at what worked and did not with other social networks. I would guess that every product manager, designer and coder on the Google+ team has a Facebook account and has for several years.

The beginning of the end for MySpace

I am more shocked that no one is talking about the best example of cutting off businesses from a social next: MySpace. Several years ago, businesses jumped on the social networking bandwagon and set up MySpace pages. I know that my company did. We had 5,000+ followers when suddenly, our account was blocked. It wasn’t deleted. We were unable to login and the custom design we had was removed and a basic template with a silly test profile pic remained in its place. MySpace refused to answer or help.

We all saw how well this played out for MySpace. Google has several high-profile flame outs in social media. If it follows MySpace’s lead with businesses, Google+ might just follow MySpace into history.

A simple solution

Let businesses sign up for accounts now. Knowing the limitation, be prepared to have these accounts migrated to the proper type of account when the new account types are ready. Unfortunately, Google isn’t building a migration tool.

Of course, there is outrage at just about every change on the Internet and it becomes the virtual equivalent of fish and chip paper. Do you really care today that Facebook changed your News Feed a few months ago? Was that when they… never mind, I can’t remember.


Did Ashton Kutcher Bring Down Twitter?

May 23, 2011

Try to load Twitter’s website. No luck? Nope, it’s down. What happened today that was out of the ordinary? Twitter’s first CTO, Greg Pass, resigned today. I don’t think that he planted a daemon to bring down the site on news of his departure so we can rule that out. The other big news is […]

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Advertising Tax: Education, not Legislation

March 11, 2011

Yesterday Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois signed HB 3659 into law. There is plenty of background on the so-called Advertising Tax / Affiliate Tax / Amazon Tax / whatever you call it so I will give some basics and then move on to a view of solutions that might work. The Basics Consumers are required […]

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NSFW: A Hunter Shoots a Bear

September 2, 2010

In case you missed it, today’s viral marketing is courtesy of Tipp-Ex, a German maker of white out. While I am not planning on buying white out to use on my computer screen (apologies to blondes who have suffered though all of those jokes), this is better than Burger King’s Subservient Chicken. While this is […]

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GoTo is officially dead… and then there were two

May 6, 2010

I’m learning how to let go of things that I used to cherish. I loved working at GoTo.com back in the day. We knew that we were changing the world. Times have changed. Yahoo sent an e-mail (below) out today announcing that it will be transitioning all Yahoo Sponsored Search (GoTo/Overture) advertisers to Microsoft’s adCenter. […]

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Tweetie: The start of Twitter 2.0?

April 10, 2010

I am a fan and detractor of Twitter both at the same time. Remember, I’m a centrist so I can do that. Twitter won? Did Twitter win microblogging? Hello no. Twitter won just like MySpace won social networking… just like Yahoo, Lycos, Excite, Infoseek and Altavista were the winners who were fighting for search marketshare […]

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Twitter Beat CNN

April 5, 2010

I found it ridiculous a few months ago when Michael Jackson died and people were claiming that Twitter beat CNN. That wasn’t true. Twitter had unverified (yes, and correct) reports that Michael Jackson died before CNN and other traditional news outlets were able to verify it. That’s what they have to do. Earthquake shakes things […]

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Why Meg Whitman Will Be California’s Next Governor

March 2, 2010

For several years I have assumed that the next governor of California would be a Democrat… and many more after that one. Why? Because California’s Republican Party appears to be inept (and I am not making a positive statement about the Democrats). Californians tend to be moderates: Socially liberal and fiscally conservative (except when voting […]

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The Real Effect of the Advertising Tax

February 22, 2010

It finally happened. What many of us have feared from the start. Online stores closing their affiliate programs because of the Advertising Tax (aka the Affiliate Tax, Amazon Tax and several other names). Today we received notice from a store that is completely closing its affiliate program immediately (yes, effective today) due to concerns over […]

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