Gmail Rich Text Signatures


…Ok, maybe not ALL of us, but certainly meeeee!! I’m so OCD about everything matching, and it always drove me completely nuts that my signature couldn’t be changed to match my email font. Well, I signed into my gmail account today and noticed that the gods have listened and beamed down…

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Clever Advertising & Pickles the Panda

I’m really big on clever marketing and advertising. I don’t like the normal- I like when people get down, dirty and creative. If you’re trying to grab your audience’s attention, you need to have something that will literally make them stop and stare… or in my case- take a screenshot and write a post about it.

I was using my trusty Grooveshark account to blast some music today, to get into my Internet marketing zen, when I saw a clever and cute advertising message gently hogging the right side of my screen.

What did I see? Read on.

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Separating myself into two

For the longest time, @esvienne has been my twitter handle. I have close to 400 followers, and I’m listed on 40+ lists. Well, that has now been changed to my professional name- @selenavidya.

Because of the importance of keeping my own brand, along with my professional work, I’ve decided to separate the two and start a-new. @esvienne is now my PERSONAL twitter- which covers the usual nonsense- social media, tech, blogging, etc. @selenavidya will be following everything BlueGlass related- internet marketing etc.

Just wanted to put a note on here. If you were following esvienne before, my handle has been changed, so you will have to refollow esvienne. will be putting up a new post soon :)

Announcing… BlueGlass Interactive, Inc!

Hi :) so I’ve been having a wonderful guest poster on here lately, Josie from Geekulous, who has been helping me keep updates on my website during this really busy time. I wanted to say thanks to her!


The big announcement (and what I’ve been so busy with) is that I’ve recently become Director of Social Media Outreach for our new company, BlueGlass Interactive. BlueGlass is the result of some amazing companies merging together (10e20, Search & Social, Second Step,  Brent Csutoras and  infinitenine) and we plan on changing the internet marketing landscape for good.

With our expertise and knowledge, we have formed a powerhouse company. ”Whether it is search marketing, social media, viral marketing, conversion rate optimization or application creation, BlueGlass can handle it all seamlessly and transparently in-house and with a single, cohesive team.”

If you’re interested in knowing more, please visit the BlueGlass website, see our official PR release, or catch up with the New York Times announcement.

We are also holding a conference in LA on July 19 & 20, 2010, called BlueGlass LA, which will cover a range of topics from entrepreneurship, to search marketing, internet marketing and more. This event is going to be kept small and intimate, so that networking and learning (as well as fun) is at an all-time high. Make sure you get your tickets before they’re all gone :)

WTF Sunday

And now, for a completely silly and “wtf” moment.

I love CNN. Watching it, reading it online…I even have the app on my phone and ipad. I generally read the important news section, as I wasn’t never really the kind of person who cared much about lifestyle or whatever sections in the newspaper. I want the important stuff… I can get my tech and lifestyle news anywhere online.

I decided to venture off course, on this lovely Sunday, and explore the rest of CNN’s website. This is what I found in the Lifestyle section for the top living stories.

This is like the equivalent of a normal talk show turning into Jerry Springer. Mo’s sporting briefs? If I wanted to know that, then I would go look in People magazine.


Choosing Killer Affiliate Marketing Software

This is a topic that I’m not well versed in, mainly because I don’t have the time and/or resources to really get into it as much as I wanted to, in order for it to be beneficial. Regardless, I love when there are articles or infographics that break down steps so that a new user (which would be me) could navigate around.

While looking around, I came across this Affiliate Marketing Software infographic, so I thought I’d share it with youuuuuuuuu readers…since my website is kind of geared towards tech, entrepreneurship, networking etc. A little out of the ordinary but still, enjoy!

Click the infographic below to go to the full (and glorious) one.

Gmail Labs is Awesome Part I

It’s been brought to my attention that not everyone knows that Gmail Labs exists, thanks to the surprised look when I showed some of the ladies in my office (love you guys!)…so I thought it might make a cute post to wrap together a few useful features of Gmail Labs.

Where is this “Flask”? If you’re wondering where this is, it’s located up by your settings option. You have to first go into settings, and click labs in there, in order for this nifty little flask to show up.

I’m going to make this a two-parter and show you a few features that I find really useful. Since all of my search & social work is done online and in the cloud, I’m always in my email, all day long, corresponding with clients and coworkers in the office. As a result, I am OCD about having my inbox exactly how I want it… not to mention I get bored and like all the new things that come out too. Here’s a taste, if you haven’t peeked in the magical labs section yet.

Nested Labels: THIS LAB FEATURE IS A LIFESAVER! I know everyday I have some new kind of lifesaver. But really- this is it. By the way, this was the default image in the labs section… I don’t have kids nor do I make a section only for shopping. Just saying. You can put a / on any sub folders you would want, and voila! So this person would have Home as one label, Home/Kids to make the first child folder, then Home/Shopping to make the second child. If you click “show” and set your filters to archive, your new mail will show up in the bolded label.

Create a Document: This is a pretty simple (but useful) feature which allows you to turn any email that you get into a google document. This way, you can file it away or organize it if you’re invoicing. There isn’t really too much to say about this one… it tends to be self explanatory.

Default Text Styling: I like changing everything, right down to the font. It’s no suprise to me, or anyone else, that this is one of my favorite features :) You can set your default text to whatever font and color you want. Just make sure it’s readable. Nothing sucks more than getting a business reply in bright pink cursive. Keep that in mind.

Import Filters: My personal email account has over 20 filters… I kid you not. I did tell you I was OCD about organization right? This makes it easy, if I ever get a new email address, to import my filters over to that one so I don’t have to set them all up again. This may be lifesaver # 3, depending on what kind of email crisis I am having.

Insert Images: This comes in handy if you ever need to include an image within your email and you don’t feel like adding it as an attachment. It’s nice if you’re sending over a post with an author byline (since I do a great amount of guest posting) because it makes it look like one big cohesive email, instead of: “Hi. My picture is here,  but please see the attachment.” Believe me… no one likes attachments. Not even me.

Mark Unread From Here: Last, but not least, of my Gmail awesomeness part I is this feature. I LOVE THIS because often times, our office has these really, really long emails full of funny replies and witty comments to read, and when I’m in the middle of working on something, I’ll mark it “unread from here” and get back to it. I’ve lost my place many-a-time without this nifty little feature.

So, there you have it. Part I. I hope you find these tips interesting… and if you know about all these features then thanks for sticking it out through a pretty grueling basic post. Stay tuned for part II. I know you’re jumping out of your chairs waiting for it….

Google Font API

Google Font API

When I was taking a college HTML/CSS class way back in 2003, I remember one thing. I was writing code for a site I was ‘designing’ in class (and I use that term loosely). I really, REALLY wanted to have a pretty font. That’s all I was asking for. But due to web safe fonts, it was a bitch to do that. So what did I do? I put my font in as an image and wrote the image into my code. Simple solution at the time right? Teacher was amazed, ended up getting asked to tutor… all for one stupid revelation that we weren’t taught in class.

Google has now officially fixed (or at least helped) that pain in the ass situation. What they have been working on is a Google Font Directory, where developers and designers can submit their fonts for us to use, so that developers, designers and coders can use the Google Font API to enhance their websites with more web-safe fonts.

Google Font

With each font, there’s the html code that you’ll insert into your site so that it can read, accept and display it. The html will look something to this effect to link it to the external style sheet:

<link href=’‘ rel=’stylesheet’ type=’text/css’>

and the CSS will look like:

h1 { font-family: ‘Cantarell‘, arial, serif; }

…doesn’t seem too complicated at all.It said it works in “most browsers”, so I’m assuming Chrome for sure, but I’m questioning Firefox (because it’s touchy about a lot of things) as well as IE. Safari will most likely easily support it.

The Shadiness of Facebook

Facebook. Everyones love it. Some people hate it. Most people love to hate it. I am in the last boat on this one. Facebook is a marvelous invention for social networking but I’m definitely not loving the privacy invasion going on. I know most people are saying, “If you don’t like the non-existing, all encompassing lack of privacy, then get off Facebook”, but it’s not that easy. Facebook is:

  • a valuable marketing tool
  • a valuable way to understand your target demographic
  • an awesome way to keep up with people who are changing their relationship status daily in hopes of someone noticing and caring your family that you live far away from.
  • planning events and raising money

Now, I know all of these things can be done off of Facebook. Supermarkets use those keytag cards, so you get some discounts or gain points, in order to watch your shopping habits and understand what is moving through their store. You can send snail mail letters (which I actually do love getting, by the way. Nothing beats a handwritten letter), you can do the good old fashion bulletin board plastering for events… there are ways to get around Facebook. I use my personal email WAY more than I could ever use Facebook. It’s open all day long and I care way more about anything that happens in there throughout the day.

You may have heard that students from NYU were raising money to start a privatized social network much like Facebook. Ilya Zhitomirskiy, Dan Grippi, Max Salzberg and Raphael Sofaer are doing just that. They started raising money slowly, and before they knew it, it was flooding into their hands left and right. I won’t get into the details of what they’re doing because it’s rather long, but the New York Times has a rather nice wrap up on it.

But in the short attention span of today’s world where we can’t even remember birthdays or events unless we have Facebook in front of us, how much information are we unknowingly giving out to there for people to sell and use? How about social media possibly affecting our credit? The IRS using social networking to find people that are evading taxes?

Why are the new Facebook privacy options OPT-OUT rather than OPT-IN. This sends a very subtle message saying, “Hi! You’re using my platform and I am going to automatically opt you in to every possible invasion of privacy in hopes that you won’t see it and opt-out!”

Don’t get me wrong, the open graph concept is AMAZING and I can’t wait to see what else is done with it, but I think the aggressive and sometimes shady pushes of it are what I don’t appreciate. What Facebook is doing is revolutionary- it’s literally changing the world around us. They are a monster; a good monster that’s pushing us towards innovation. But when is there going to be a line? Has it already been crossed? What exactly should be kept private?

You do know that every application you sign up for can access your information, and the developers can see all of that, right? You do know that your information is not just locked up on the Facebook platform and only accessed by those developers… right?

Yeah… ok.

Also, remember: What goes up must come down.

We shouldn’t be putting all our eggs in one basket because I suspect that in the next couple of years, something will happen and Facebook will be taken down, abandoned, or try to go too far and completely mess up its business model and destroy all hope of living.

Now, there are some people that don’t give a sh*t about their privacy. I think this is because:

  1. They cannot wrap their heads around the security implications
  2. They like that Facebook is becoming somewhat of a bad realty TV show for you to read
  3. They don’t understand that the changes aren’t “really” for our benefit- Facebook and other businesses are the true benefactors
  4. They just really honestly believe that our information is not being used for anything malicious

I’ve read articles that warn mothers not to put their children’s full name in pictures, for the sake of keeping them private from pedophiles and other sickos. I’ve read things that have said not to put your full birthday (month, day and year) on your Facebook profile because it can be accessed for credit card fraud. It AMAZES me that people can be so hyper focused and paranoid, but not see the big picture.

OPEN YOUR EYES. Embrace this change but ALSO know where your data is going and make SURE you protect what you don’t want out there. Don’t be naive.

Next thing you know, we’ll be calling each other by our social security numbers in public.

*I realize that this comes off as a huge rant that I am against Facebook and social networking, but it’s not true. I am completely immersed in it (I am in the internet marketing field after all) but it doesn’t mean I have to be completely supportive. I am merely expressing my concerns. If you don’t like it, then go stand in the middle of a busy highway. Thanks.