Finally, Blogging Pays Off!


Click on the thumbnail to the right to see a video of Vivian snapped on the Nokia 6682 multimedia smartphone with camera.

When I was working for Alternatives Journal, I went to see The Corporation with the rest of the socially conscious group of individuals that I found myself hanging out with. And I say that it was an interesting, thought provoking movie. But one section resonated with me in ways I’m sure the movie’s makers did not intend.

There was a long segment about how advertisers were finding insidious ways to get their product into your earshot. When you were walking out of your building, the doorman (assuming you had one) would be standing beside boxes of some product being delivered, but (cue dramatic music), that’s not product being delivered, that’s product the doorman has been paid to advertise. And when you’re walking down the street, and you hear two people talking about this new MP3 player they were trying out, these aren’t real people, these are actors who have been paid to talk about their MP3 player. People are chugging drinks that have been handed to them. The world you are walking around in is not the world you think it is.

And rather than be disturbed by the insidious (though some might say: creative) paths corporations were taking to get their products into the public consciousness, my reaction was quite different.

My first thought was: gee, how do I get myself a piece of that action?

This is also a meme that dates right back to the glory days of the blogosphere (when it was new and cool, rather than new, cool and ubiquitous), when the big blogs would talk about fancy new products they’d tried, and other blogs would tell two friends, and so on, and soon the lucky company would have a hit on their hands. And companies responded by organizing blog campaigns, incidentally showering bloggers with free stuff. Well, I’ve been blogging for four and a half years, and I had to wonder, where was my free stuff? When was Apple going to contact me and ask me to test out their new black MacBook? (hint, Apple, hint!)

Until today.

Madeleine of Matchstick, Inc., contacted me, through photoblogger extraordinare Rannie Turrigan, and asked me to participate in a review test/marketing campaign for Nokia’s new 6682 multimedia smart phone with built-in camera.

Specifically, she asked for bloggers who were in Toronto and Vancouver, who had about 300 hits per day on their websites, and were socially active. I told her that I lived in Kitchener and not Toronto, that I barely made 300 hits per day on this site (though Aaron Adel and I made 3000 hits per day on Transit Toronto) and staying at home to raise my daughter was one’s definition of socially active, then I was her man (though that would mean that I would be taking a lot of pictures). But she must have liked something about me (possibly my promise to make use of the phone), and I qualified for her group. This was the message she sent me:

You have been selected as one of only 45 bloggers in the GTA to receive the brand new Nokia 6682 multimedia smart phone. This phone has a lot of features that we think you will find very useful and entertaining, and may help you build your blog in new an interesting ways…

…This is a word of mouth marketing program designed to encourage positive person to person word of mouth for the Nokia 6682. We hope that you will continue to tell otheres who might be interested in the Nokia 6682 multimedia smart phone about your experiences with it. Also, we encourage you to disclose that you are part of a marketing programme when talking to others and feel free to write about your experience with the Nokia 6682 on your blog.

Done, and done.

The phone arrived via Fed Ex yesterday, after some complications thanks to the fact that I was in Lincoln when Fed Ex first tried to deliver it (Fed Ex officials were kind and helpful and managed to arrange an alternate delivery to my father, so here’s some positive word of mouth for them as well.

The phone is attractive, and easy for this moderate geek to set up. I’m already a Rogers wireless subscriber, so I was able to switch my SIMM card from my old phone to my new one and have it operate under Roger’s service with my old number. I immediately called my parents and a couple of friends, who reported that I came through loud and clear. Accessing the settings was easy, once I took the time to read the accompanying manual. I was able to set my phone to vibrate and to modify the user interface almost the way I wanted. It was also fairly easy to figure out how the camera worked and — and this is impressive given that I’d never, ever used Bluetooth before — connecting between the Nokia phone and my Apple iBook went so well and so easily, I haven’t even had need to establish a USB connection with this phone as well.

As I said, the phone comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a 1.3 megapixel camera and video recorder. My information sheet says the phone has a flash, but I haven’t noticed it (Edited to add: Oh, there it is!); nor have I had need of it yet. It snaps pictures quickly, and the quality is pretty good for blogs (though the shots I’ve taken so far are not my best. I’ll upload better ones soon). The camera also takes 35-second video clips with sound, and I’ve uploaded one here. It promises hassle free printing and a stereo MP3 player, but I haven’t tested those facilities yet. Nor have I tested the built in web browser or e-mail, as connecting to the Net on this thing can be expensive (unless there’s a wi-fi capability that I’m unaware of). The device comes with a 64Mb memory stick, but upgrades to 512Mb are possible (and Madeleine was kind enough to send me such a card).

I was impressed. I can quibble about a few things: the lack of a faceplate strikes me as a mistake. The Nokia does have a keyboard lockout to prevent buttons from being accidentally pushed while the phone is in my pcoket, and it’s easy to use, but I’m concerned at how the phone will scratch when it’s stuffed in my pocket, competing for space with my pocket knife and house keys. My Samsung flip phone is just over a year old and is now quite well worn (I’d almost say it had character).

Countering this is the Nokia’s impressive battery life. My Samsung doesn’t seem to hold much of a charge anymore. A full day’s use, with a camera, didn’t seem to dent the Nokia’s charge at all. As time goes by, it will be interesting to see how the Nokia phone ages.

I don’t know how much the Nokia 6682 phone costs, but it’s bound to be expensive, given all of the features it offers. My old Samsung was free with my Rogers wireless contract, because it’s just a phone. I’m on such a budget that if I had to choose between a free, basic cellphone and a Nokia 6682 that I had to pay for, I’d probably go for the free phone, even if the Nokia was bargain priced at $100 (and I strongly suspect that this model is worth more than that).

But I do expect to get good use out of the Nokia. Combining my cell phone with my camera means one less device to lug around, and I tend to lug my cell phone around as a matter of course. I’ve encountered a few situations where I’ve wished I had a camera; now I don’t have that excuse. Indeed, I snapped a few shots today that I would have walked by, even if I had my old digital camera in my computer bag.

You’ll be seeing more pictures on this blog, courtesy of Matchstick Inc and the Nokia 6682. Thanks to Madeleine and Matchstick for considering me for a fine phone campaign.


Vivian snapped in low light, without a flash.


Vivian in her swivel chair!

Further Reading

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