Category Archives: internet

Two Pubs: Wilkes Magazine & interviewed in Keystone Edge

Posted these two on my writing blog as separate posts, but figured I’d post them here as well:

I am super excited to share this publishing credit! I contributed an article to the Summer 2010 Wilkes magazine on the various ways social media is being used across the Wilkes University campus. From PR students using these newer mediums for their real-world clients to nature podcasts, students, professors and staff are going social. Read the store online here by downloading a PDF.

Wilkes Magazine Summer 2010 Going Social Donna Talarico

A few weeks ago at work I received a call from freelance writer Sara Hodon. She was working on a piece on technology companies for Keystone Edge, an online publication dedicated to the new economy of Pennsylvania. Sara’s piece was about Internet marketing. Her article is very comprehensive and includes quotes from me, as well as some other PA-based tech firms. Additionally, photographer Aimee Dilger took some fantastic photos around Solid Cactus.

This article, “Search No More: PA Companies Lead Online Marketing Revolution” is a true testament to the work we do at Solid Cactus as well as to the success of online marketing.

Solid Cactus Donna Talarico Keystone Edge Article

Screen shot of the Keystone Edge site, where we were the "cover" story.


Presenting this week at May’s Cocktails & Connections Event: Blogging for Business

cocktails and connections logo

Cocktails and Connections is a monthly mixer for NEPA professionals.

A few months ago, Catherine Shafer of CDS Creative invited me to present on blogging for business at May’s Cocktails & Connections. Cocktails and Connections is a monthly networking event held at the Woodlands. Professionals can get together to relax, network and learn. Pretty cool concept.

May’s event is slated for this Tuesday, the 25th and runs from 6:00-8:00 – my presentation is at 6:30 and will last less than an hour.

My blogging for business presentation will cover topics such as:

  • Why every business needs to have a blog
  • How to set up a blog
  • What you should and shouldn’t blog about
  • How to promote a blog
  • Blogging best practices

The event has a Facebook page. For information or to RSVP, you can visit the Cocktails and Connections page here.

Moments of Wit & Wisdom – Or, funny stuff from Facebook

I like to think that I can be witty and clever. I love play on words and stuff, so sometimes, I just try to make the most of a status update or tweet. Here’s one I made about two minutes ago. As soon as I hit send, I realized how dirty it sounded.

And, here’s another one-liner that made me laugh. Of course, you may have to read the news story to understand why I wrote what I wrote. Basically, two young high school teachers were caught topless together in a classroom:

This was just amusing. This was after three straight days of eating cheese as a snack.

Dear Who Ever Made Cheese You Complete Me

And, I am so glad that my friends think I am funny. Feels good to laugh, be laughed at, be laughed with.

I don’t really know the point of this post except to show how much fun engaging with other on Facebook is. It’s seriously way more then, “Just ate dinner.” Come on folks! It’s about staying in touch and being social and having meaningful interactions with great people you may not get to see all the time.

An Eight-Week Course in Tom Petty History: The Start of the Superhighway Tour — A Review

Was I in Cleveland the past hour? (No.) Oh, okay. But it sure felt like I just came back from a trip in rock-n-roll history. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers history, that is.

What’s the deal with the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Superhighway Tour and Live Anthology? Here’s my experience from Day One , a mini-review of the content:

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live Anthology -

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live Anthology -

This morning at about 10:01 I purchased my ticket to the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour. I wasn’t sure how it worked with the downloads and digital playing of tracks, so I waited until I got home from work to log in for the first time.

Wow. I am completely impressed. This is an incredibly creative way to promote the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Live Anthology. I am almost jealous that I didn’t think of it. I mean, not that I work in the record industry, but man, takes me back to my radio days. This is just an incredible idea. Kudos to Warner Brothers or whoever in Tom Petty’s camp came up with this creative concept.

I seriously look forward to the next eight weeks, where unique content and unheard tracks are delivered to me two tracks per week. Look forward? Wait. What kinda expression of excitement is that? I mean, I AM FREAKIN’ STOKED.

So, the deal is: You can buy the ticket to access the online content. A total of 24 advance tracks are made available, two per week over the next eight weeks leading up to the November 24, 2009 release of The Live Anthology Deluxe Box Set. On the 28th, the final 24 tracks are also made available, totaling 48 tracks.

I’m not stopping at the digital and I hope no Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers fan does. I describe what you get on the tour below, but real quick…

On the 24th the tangible stuff – do you remember what tangible music is?- is available. The Live Anthology Deluxe Box Set includes an incredible amount of music (Superhighway Tour ticker holders get a hefty discount!). According to –and directly pasted from — as of 09/29/09 (in case it changes on us for some reason):

  • The definitive live collection. 62 tracks on 5 CDs recorded live in concert from 1978 – 2007.
  • Blu-ray AUDIO disc of all 62 tracks in both stereo and surround sound. High-resolution 96K 24-bit audio with 256 times more resolution than a CD.
  • One DVD of “400 Days”, a previously unreleased documentary film by director Martyn Atkins, made during the 1995 Wildflowers tour and recording sessions.
  • One DVD of previously unreleased New Years Eve 1978 Santa Monica, CA concert.
  • 12” vinyl of a re-mastered 1976 Official Live Bootleg album.
  • Deluxe book with liner notes offering personal perspectives on the band and their music by Tom Petty, Warren Zanes, Bill Flanagan, Robert Hilburn, Joel Selvin, Austin Scaggs, and Phil Sutcliffe.
  • Reproduction “Litho” of Shepard Fairey Cover Art (12″ x 12″ on high quality stock)
  • Reproduction of the 1997 twenty night Fillmore stand concert poster (8″ x 12″ on high quality stock)
  • Assorted authentic vintage backstage satin passes.
  • SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS OPTION: There is also a Live Anthology Vinyl Deluxe Box Set which has seven albums and over 51 live tracks from 1980-2007 plus a 12×12, 24-page color book of liner notes.

    Finally, folks can also purchase a four-CD set.


    Just took a screen shot of my welcome page after I logged into the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour (Image (c) Donna Talarico)

    Just took a screen shot of my welcome page after I logged into the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour (Image (c) Donna Talarico)

    The “ticket” to the tour was $24.98 and I purchased it through as soon as they were made available. I simply created an account, paid and Viola! Later when I logged in, I downloaded the first two tracks, which are also able to be played from the site. They are playing right now, in fact.

    The site: The layout and design of the Tom Petty Superhighway Tour site is uber-cool. The parchment feel of the site gives it that nostalgic touch- kind of like the tan old paper becomes. The site is laced with bits of red and images of old concert tickets, press clippings, posters, and the Damn the Torpedoes cover in the background- wonderful design.

    Navigation of is easy,  very user-friendly. The sections are clear: new tracks, news on the album, photos, merchandise, etc. All very pleasing to the eye. The enlarged images allow users to scan through each image within the enlarged view, rather than open and close, and open and close.

    Hard Promises from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Hard Promises from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    The goodies: After logging in, the welcome screen greeted with the new tracks of the week. Basically, the Superhighway Tour follows a calendar spanning the past 30 years. Each week the tracks are from live performances from a concert. This week, one of the tracks is “Nightwatchman” from a show at The Forum in Los Angeles on June 28, 1981. “Nightwatchman” was from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ album Hard Promises.

    More goodies: When you click on the page for an individual track, you are also given awesome material — and this is the kind of stuff I live for since I love media, memorabilia, and memories- that pertain to that particular show. You are given an overview of the concert (for example the Forum show is actually part of a three-night run), a set-list from that night, reviews, band commentary on the song and the concert, and more.

    I don’t want to give away all the surprises (although I am sure other bloggers will) because I want you to buy this digital treasure chest and see for yourself! But, there are articles, concert reviews, photos, and more. Oh, yeah. I didn’t even mention that each week there is new merchandise. This week it’s a vintage t-shirt from 1981. I can quickly see my bank account draining.

    User-generated content: I work in eCommerce so I know how important it is becoming to let customers, and in this case also fans, take ownership and play a role in the experience. Virtually every bit of media/information available on the Tom Petty Superhighway Tour allows for user comments. There is also the ability to upload fan photos. There is a forum as well.

    This isn’t even a tour.

    It’s an eight-week course in Tom Petty history.

    (I just coined that during an edit and had to change the headline.) I look forward to paying attention to Tom Petty History every week and indulging in the music and enjoying the nostalgia of a band that had an incredible 31+ years so far — who knows what is ahead. Watching the Runnin’ Down a Dream documentary last week was awesome, coincidental prep for this adventure.

    This is the ULTIMATE collection for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers fans. It’s the band, throughout the decades with tons and tons of extras- as Tom Petty said in his welcome message, “We’re gonna be sending you mountains of stuff over the Super Internet Global Highway.”

    Buy the ticket today. Enjoy what I am enjoying. I am sure I will write more about this down the line, but wanted to get the word out about this today since it’s brand new!

    Twitter Up a Storm: A simple photo leads to “front” page news in Wilkes-Barre – Scranton newsapp

    This is a blog post about a cool Twitter thingy that happened Friday evening. This would be a perfect example to use in a class or workshop on social media on how news can travel fast… of course this is not as cool as what happened with the Hudson Plane Crash and my client Janis Krums who took the first picture of the crash… (read about his cool story, here in the NY Daily News and also an article I wrote about Twitter and Janis, here.)

    Some of my favorite cohorts and I were relaxing in the dorm before getting ready for the Wilkes University Creative Writing banquet/graduation when the thunder clouds rolled in. The wind started to blow. We ran from one side of the Ten East South Street Apartments to the other, checking out the view on either side of the building. The clouds were incredible. I took a picture with my iPhone and Twitpic‘d it right away, as did my friend Jon. I took a bunch more with my regular camera as well.

    Storm Twit Pic Wilkes-Barre

    A few moments later,I get a direct message from a fellow NEPA tweeter who works for Times-Shamrock (publisher of The Scranton Times, Citizen’s Voice, among others) asking for permission to use the picture. Of course I agreed.

    Picture 5

    Meanwhile, people were retweeting my picture. The pics of the storm were spreading as fast as the storm itself. The news organizations Twitter accounts, as well as people I follow were sending the picture around. Picture 6

    Then, while at the Wilkes banquet, I checked Twitter through my Tweetie app and saw the the Scranton Times website had posted its story or the wicked weather. An early version just had my picture, then they later updated the story with reports on the damage. There is another really cool picture someone else submitted of an uprooted tree.

    Donna Talarico storm picture Scranton Times Twitter

    This is a testament to how news being tweeted as it happens, as well as gathering photos and eye-witness accounts to help research the story– and then for more in-depth stories- users can later check-out the news outlets websites, publications and broadcasts. I just this was cool to share. And yes… it stopped storming before we headed to campus so our hair and outfits were all good. To read the whole story in the Scranton Times, go here. The only thing that would have been cooler is if this happened BEFORE my panel on “Social Media for the Anti-Social Writer.”

    Headed to Boston for Internet Retailer Convention & Expo (IRCE 2009)

    bcec_entranceIn about 16 hours, I leave for Boston again!  Woo hoo!  I had never been to Boston before Memorial Day weekend (read about that here), but Beantown quickly became my fave new city.  And now, I get to go a second time less than three weeks later- and with one of my same friends, who also happens to work with me at Solid Cactus.  We’re headed there for the granddaddy of trade shows for our industry.

    Internet Retailer (from Vertical Web Media) is pretty much the mother of all things e-commerce research.  They publish a monthly print magazine, have a slew of e-mail newsletters and publish annual guides on e-commerce trends.  One of those annual guides is the Internet Retailer Top 500- the list of top e-commerce sites  by revenue.  My company actually has more clients on the IR list than any other developer, which is pretty cool. Finally, Internet Retailer holds various conferences each year, the biggest of course being the Internet Retailer Convention & Expo (IRCE 2009).  My first year at Solid Cactus it was in San Jose, CA and last year was in Chicago.  This year, of course, in Boston and I am proud to have been selected to represent Solid Cactus with a few others on our sales and marketing team, as well as our art director, who is actually one of the featured speakers!

    Solid Cactus at IRI absolutely love trade shows.  I was in San Francisco for Online Market World last September, but IRCE is about ten times the size.  I am uber excited to meet and greet with e-commerce business owners and tell them about all the Solid Cactus can do to help them start/grow their businesses.  Of course, trade shows are also about networking, so I’m sure I will meet other e-commerce vendors, too. If you are reading this blog and are going to IRCE 2009, visit Solid Cactus – we’ll be at booth #443- one of the bigger size booths, right near Yahoo!.

    But back to Internet Retailer, I use their news every day in my position, constantly sending out their articles to clients (and even coworkers) when something strikes me to be of importance.  They really know e-commerce– and etailers should be paying attention to the reports/trends/advice put out.

    Definitely looking forward to checking out more Beantown pubs, while there, too!!  I will be sure to be tweeting from the event as well!

    Weekender Cover Story Today: Tracking the Twitter Trend

    cover022509_2_web2I usually post the links to the things I write professionally at to separate the two blogs and my personal life from my writing life (which is one in the same really, but I feel the need to have a total independent writing blog.)  But since this article is about something I personally use and know and love, I figure it kind of belongs here, too.   So, if you have time and want to learn more about Twitter, check out the Weekender cover story (if you are local, pick one up for all the other great stuff the Weekender offers) here.  Thanks to the local people and businesses who gave interviews.

    Also, unrelated to this particular article, but pertinent to Twitter and it’s friends, to learn more about social media, keep up with my company’s social media blog for lots and lots of great SEO and SMO tips.

    Oh, and of course, you can follow me on Twitter, here.