Every Call To Action Is a Winding Road: How not to integrate social media into print.

Real Simple magazine is one of two print publications I still subscribe to. (The other being Communication Arts.) Real Simple is nicely art directed and is full of tips for the not-so-domestic-goddess that I am.

Over the last few months, the advertisers have been going crazy with QR codes. This ad from Toms’s of Maine Simply White Toothpaste was no exception. But what, exactly do they want me to do?

If It Makes You Happy

First of all, if I like Tom’s of Maine  on Facebook, I’ll get a free download of a Sheryl Crow song. (Yes, the singer fits with the magazine’s demographics.)

Next below, I see a QR code. The call to action reads, “To find out what natural beauty means to Sheryl Crow, scan the mobile barcode with your smart phone.” Then it includes instructions on how to download a QR code reader app, including a url.

Wow, anyone who is so dedicated that they would download an app to read a QR code must be a passionate customer.

Then finally, in smaller print, the reader is invited to find out more about Tom’s on Facebook by clicking on the Sheryl Crow and Simply White tab on the Facebook page.

A Change Would Do You Good.

Threes call to action. That’s an awful lot going on. Just because you include a QR code doesn’t mean you should. A song from Sheryl. Sheryl’s thoughts on natural beauty. Shiny white teeth. What does Tom’s of Maine want me to remember? Social media gives us many options to have conversations with customers, but if we don't limit our options, the conversations just become a bunch of noise.

Why I do the co-working thang.

I had a work situation that many dream of. I owned my own business and could work from home and set my own hours. The work was fun and paid well.

The only problem was, I was going insane working at home alone.

I’ll admit it. I was lonely. I missed the camaraderie, creative brainstorming and design nerd conversation of an office.

That’s when I discovered co-working at the Hive.

The Hive bills itself as a flexible workspace for urban creatives. Here you’ll find a mixed group of small businesses. Start-ups. Photographers, PR folk. Social media. Non-profit. Web designers. Developers. And even the occasional interactive copywriter like myself.

Co-working was founded on the idea than even though cell phones and wireless internet liberates us from cubicles in corporate offices, the best human interaction still happens offline and in person.

Basically, if you're surrounded by new and interesting people, you will have new and interesting ideas and conversations.

Over the past two years, I have met so many inspiring and creative people, my approach to work has changed to be more open and collaborative. I have also broadened my client base and business has expanded with numerous referrals. Some exciting things:

  • Endlessly multiplying the number of people I team up with for projects.
  • Having my entire approach to work and creativity be challenged by an amazing individual who showed it’s possible to do good while doing good work.
  • Watching a young woman transform into a media powerhouse, conducting business on her own terms.
  • Laughing an entire afternoon while a designer tried to source local taxidermists for stuffed foxes and bears for a photo shoot.
  • Watching the daily ins and outs of a start-up as they grew, sought funding and changed their focus.
  • Savoring Tuesday morning coffees with friends, discussing life online and offline.
  • Learning how to be a connector, introducing people to each other so they can grow.
  • Witnessing a student evolve from a hard working intern to a much- in-design graphic designer.
  • Watch a solopreneur grow a successful online, learning to do much himself: social media, marketing, SEO, and sourcing manufacturing.
  • Watching an entrepreneur realign their work with their values.
  • Expanding my understanding of the creative process through a series of enlightening conversations with a successful illustrator.

If you Google “co-working San Diego” the Hive is right at the top.  But now there are several places where you can experience co-working in San Diego.

  • The Hive: Two locations in East Village. San Diego’s original co-working place.
  • Jelly: The co-working phenomenon that started it all. Jelly meets every other Friday at the Hive. Come by and co-work for free.
  • Hera Hub: Founded by Felena Hanson, Hera Hub caters to female business owners and entrepreneurs. Felana knows what women need (like bowls of M&Ms that I have to remove from my desk when I visit.) They’re moving to their new location this week.
  • 3rd Space: It's not a cult, yet. A 30-second walk from all of your favorite coffee-places. They hosted many TedX AFC follow-up events.
  • Co-Merge: I haven’t been here yet. But look at this patio: it’s to die for.
  • GravySD: It’s co-working for you North County Coastal peeps.
  • Kowork'n: It’s co-working for you North County Inland folk.