Having a rough day? Need a virtual hug or an uplifting message? Possibly from a manatee? Then your new favorite website is Calming Manatee.
Created by the Chicago-based geniuses of Ethercycle, a web design and development firm, the site brings you random images of the serene marine mammals with a message of support. Click the button to summon another, and another, and another.
Ethercycle’s lead developer Paul Reda told Huffington Post that the Calming Manatee site started as the result of an office joke sparked by a misunderstanding of the words “matinee” and “manatee.”
Besides being both LOL-worthy and sweet at the same time, the site is also an enormous lesson in the power of social media and how to leverage it. Despite having never promoted the site, it receives more than a million pageviews a month.
More than a year after Calming Manatee’s launch, Ethercycle continues to use Calming Manatee’s audience to research browser and device usage statistics, which provides the company with guidance on how to support its clients.
Here’s a particularly valuable truth bomb that came out of the Calming Manatee project: “If something is compelling enough, people will share it,” say the folks at Ethercycle. “You can’t force people to share crappy content.” So painfully, painfully true. If you’re a blogger or other web content developer, you should definitely read some of the other valuable lessons that came out of the Calming Manatee project.
You can follow Calming Manatee on Facebook and Twitter for a constant stream of uplifting messages, and of course click over to CalmingManatee.com any time for new messages. In the mean time, enjoy this sampling of manatee awesomeness!
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