1. In case you missed it, Skittles gets it. We are in a new age of consumer marketing. Nothing you don’t know, right? YouTube. Vines. Instagram. These have widely been viewed as new channels for companies to connect with consumers. Except one thing – consumers don’t need you to connect with them. Those channels are two-way. And consumers can use them too. And sometimes they do it in a way that far exceeds anything you could ever come up with. The choice then, for brands, is what to do with it? Ignore it and let it keep going on its own? Separate yourself all together? Embrace it?The answer is to embrace it…for companies who get it. If managed right, it can be a stronger, more lasting impression than anything the company could do on those same channels (and sometimes for far less money). Case in point is Skittles. About a year ago they had a contest on its facebook page asking fans why they should get this SWEET Skittle vending machine.

Two of the entries came from Trale Lewous, an fictitious character created by Nathan Barnatt.  It was the perfect contest for Barnatt who had used his Lewous character to celebrate the awesomess of Skittles long before this contest. He of course won…and kept making videos. So what did Skittle do? Sent him more stuff. This time a Skittle boombox. And Barnatt made more videos. So Skittles decided to make him the spokesperson for their next contest.I love this on a lot of levels. Of course the videos are great. They’re hilarious (Skit-tles…they’re really…good.) and play really well with the brand. But what I really love is the fact that Skittles recognized what they had – the best kind of engagement you can get. Barnatt was having fun with Skittles.  So Skittles encouraged him to and were willing to roll with whatever he came up with. Plain and simple. I look at it as telling your kid to stop coloring because they’ll never be artist. You don’t do that. You just let them have fun. And sometimes they surprise you.

Consumers are the same way now. There are no rules for using these new channels. Consumers aren’t waiting around to be told how and when to use them. They already are. And companies are going to realize, very quickly, that they’re not going to be able to dictate how consumers engage with them…they should just be happy they are. Consumers aren’t going to conform to the company…companies need to be flexible and adapt to their consumers.

2. The real reason Yahoo’s Marissa Myer doesn’t want people working at home. Yahoo CEO Marissa Myer announced in her blog yesterday that all 38 years of Saturday Night Live will be available to Yahoo users.  Myer’s decision to not allow anyone to work form home now makes sense. How will her employees – or anyone for that matter – get anything done with 38 years worth of SNL at their fingertips???

And since we’re talking about it, here are the first five skits I’m watching:

  1. Any ‘Da Bears’ skit. But I really like this one.
  2. The original Matt Foley (i.e., ‘van down by the river!!’ guy) skit (with Christina Applegate)
  3. Massive Headwound Harry (Dana Carvey)
  4. I drive a Dodge Stratus!!! (Will Ferrell)
  5. Get off the shed!! (Will Ferrell)

3. Could you go a month without ‘Liking’ something on facebook? Len Kendall, founder of CentUp.org and Need1Hour.com is in the middle of a one month experiment where he is refusing to like anything on facebook. His findings so far are a little sobering as I can see myself in a lot of what he’s saying, specifically that he’s liking things out of obligation and it’s making him lazy (hitting ‘like’ in place of a comment). I think the latter is important. By replacing a comment or engagement with a singular action of universal approval, what are we really saying? It’s kind of like texting happy birthday to someone v. calling them. And worse yet, writing it on someone’s facebook page because the little birthday cake in the corner told you to. Is the expectation for people to stop liking things? No, that’s part of the fun. But if experiments like this make us think…and we take an extra minute and give an opinion or throw a few words of encouragement v. clicking a thumb, that’s a success.

4. Do you have a favorite streaming music service? Here’s your guide to what’s out there. In case you didn’t notice, there is a race to bring us the coolest all-you-can-stream music service, starring Google, Amazon, Spotify and others. So with so many options out there how do you know what is best for you? And what does that even mean – why should I care that Spotify imports local MP3s? What does it mean that Deezer has 320kbps? This review from ReadWriteWeb tries to answer the question as you wade through all the options.

For the record, I’m a Spotify guy. I love it. But I am going to have to check out this Deezer. Looks like a legit competitor to Spotify in volume, MP3 inegration and possibly a better quality sound.

Closing note – I have to give credit to ReadWriteWeb. You see Mashable featured here a lot but RWW is a great, great resource for what’s going on out there in tech, social and life. Check them out.