Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Will Social Media allow the public to be more influential?

November 20, 2008

One of the largest complaints a majority of citizens here in the United States have today is that for whatever reason they don’t really have the opportunity to make a difference.  Especially when it comes to the political actions of the very government which is designed to serve us.

During Abe Lincoln’s great Gettysburg Address – he stated that our government system is a one that is

… of the people, by the people, for the people …

Today the “by the people” really can only occur during election years (theoretically).  I know that I can write a letter to my congressman or go door to door to get signatures on a petition – I am fully aware of the chain of command.  The problem is – that not only does this type of message take long to deliver (unless you are personal friends with a congressman) the message is a one way message.  No one but my congressman (and probably not even the congressman but rather a deputy director or associate) will see this message.

If that congressman is supposed to make decisions based on his/her constituents then this current system needs a boost.  Especially with over 300 million people equally guaranteed a voice.

In comes Social Media!

With Twitter, Blogging, FriendFeed, SocialMedian or any of the other Socially aware sites out their today (and coming in the near future) we are hopefully seeing a radical change to this paradigm of communication.

I have been turned on by a rather amazing phenomon which was started in late September/Early October by the makers of Twitter.  They created a special site called Election 2008 (http://election.twitter.com) which gave site visitors the ability to view real-time Twitter “conversations” happening all over the world.  It was truly remarkable and has lead to some more open sites like Monitter and TweetGrid which allow you to monitor the conversations on any topic.

So while I sat there yesterday listening to the 3 CEO’s of our great auto industry grovel for cash to withstand this economic downturn – I couldn’t help but notice Senator Dodd flipping back and forth between ‘auto industry’ and ‘auto bailout’ on www.monitter.com with his iPhone – tilted oh so slightly as to “pause” the stream when an interesting question arose from the community.

We truly do live in an amazing time.  Truly historic.

Monetizing Twitter

October 30, 2008

Ok, I think this subject has been beaten to death in the past whatever months but I want to throw another idea out there that I am not sure has been thought of.

What if there was a way to Monetize clicking on links from within a Tweet?

One of the hardest thing to do is to get someone’s attention – especially on Twitter.  I only follow 50-60 active users on Twitter and get more than 20 pages of tweets everyday.  I don’t read all of them – can’t.  It would take forever.  On Twitter you are forced to be clever or in a sense “market” their tweets in order to get someone to even read it.  And this is coming from someone with 50-60 active users – what about those people with hundreds if not thousands…

Here are 3 links that appeared in my stream today which exemplify what I am talking about:

@blakespot: Change. That’s what’s up. http://tinyurl.com/59resq about 22 hours ago from TweetDeck

@georgedearing: http://ping.fm/p/PrFjH – This is the crappy part of the trip about 4 hours ago from Ping.fm

@sfsmaus: Bugger all… http://snipr.com/4tqwo about 4 hours ago from digsby

Each of these Tweets was a promotion.  More so than posting it to their Del.icio.us accounts or to FriendFeed etc…. they posted to Twitter because it was something that they wanted to share.

In most cases (these three tweets as examples) I would have never stumbled upon (hee hee) these links and  would have never been subjected to their sites advertising.  Never.  Twitter is a crucial network for sharing information like this and if there was some way to monetize this I think it would help.

At some level most of the early adopters on Twitter – the one’s that are active – are all mavens.  Maybe not like a Blogger is but in a different way.  We are all promoting something – us and how we think and see the world.  In most cases that includes products.

I don’t know how many people I have turned on to Digsby.  I found out about Digsby on Twitter from @tonyk – else I might still be using that other crappy program – Trillian.  Goodness gracious.  So glad.

Maybe if we could track our influence similar to those silly pyramid schemes like Amway and Herbal Life – we could put a dollar sign to it.

Just a thought.

How long will your old marketing prowess last?

June 7, 2008

No doubt things are changing – the question is really has it changed?  Did you spend the last 4 (or more) years of your life studying a field that just did a complete flip?  What types of companies are looking for marketing “geniuses” whose college pedigree reads “Graduated 1995”?

I posted this on Twitter a few hours ago and I could not get it out of my head:

“If you are in marketing and you don’t use FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace and/or you don’t blog – get out. The field  will be passing you by soon”

There is still time (I think). When I see companies like the Undercurrent popping up it makes you wonder what value traditional marketing brings now a days.  Undercurrent is hiring “mavens” to spread messages with a virtual interview through a blog post asking you questions like “How would you spread a viral video”.

When I think about this I get scared.  Not because I don’t think that these types of things are cool (because I do) – but because there are a millions of marketing professionals out there who are going to lose their  jobs.

Remember door to door Encyclopedia Salesman (great book about that by Herman Miller – Death of a Salesman). Yeah – if your dad was one of those back in the early 80’s you know what I am about to ask – “Where is he now?”.  Replaced that’s where.

Tree falls in the woods…

How about the “Million Dollar Homepage” – do you remember that?  Here is the significance of that “experiment”- if you did not hear about this before it was posted on CNN, Time Magazine or any other mainstream media – it probably meant that you were already out of the picture.  This is the funny thing about where we are right now – there really will be an “in” and “out” crowd.  The reason this will happen is because there are information flows on the Internet that travel virally and if you aren’t near anyone that catches it (understands it)- you won’t even know it happened. In this case – a tree will fall in the woods and those near it will hear it and unless you talk to them you won’t know.

So when you think about the people that heard about the Million Dollar Homepage through non-traditional networks you begin to see where things are.  Those people have been entrenched in networks where information like this travels and they are essentially 2 years (plus) ahead of you – seriously.  This is how people like Michael Arrington has made his recognition – he is in the know – in an unfathomable way – point in case.

There was a great post today by Jeremiah Owyang which addressed where most corporations are on Social Media.  If you have not come to terms with what Social Media means and you have not come up with a plan to work that into your marketing plans than you better get a move on.  That 20 year old 1st year marketing college grad is suddenly looking a bit more attractive than you.

So for those that don’t have your bearings – here are some terms that your competition are going to be very familiar with shortly:

  • Viral Loop
  • Viral Networks
  • Double Viral Loops

There is still some time – if you hurry.  Good thing this is all documented and you understand the basics.  Good luck.

Managing the unmanaged links

June 4, 2008

I got into a very interesting conversation with someone yesterday (I so wanted to write this last night but…) regarding the way WordPress and CommonSpot manage links.  I have been using WordPress for my blog for over a year now and I have to say that one of the most annoying things in WordPress is linking.  I am certainly not in the position of managing many pieces of content but I can say I much prefer the link management process in CommonSpot.

 

The Argument

(liberally paraphrased)

Content owners should not care that the link is managed – or to put this in context – if I need to link from one page in the CMS to another I should simply open the page I want to link to – copy the URL and paste it into my content.  The content management system should take the link and manage it automatically (e.g. perform normal link management duties).

Ignoring the technical difficulties of taking a web URL and mapping it back to a relational database link storage facility, lets dissect the process of finding a link:

1.) I need to know where I want to link to
2.) I need to find the link
3.) I need to insert that link

Since the web/usability and the like are interested in “clicks” here is how I would link to an existing post in WordPress vs. linking to an existing page in CommonSpot.

WordPress

1.) Open a new browser tab and go to the home page of my blog
2.) Enter text into the Search field and click “Search”
3.) Locate the post and click the post URL
4.) Copy the content of the URL into my clipboard
5.) Go back to my post
6.) Highlight the text I want and then click the “link” indicator
7.) Paste the content into the URL field – choose my options
8.) Click finish

CMS

1.) Highlight the content I want to link and click the “link” icon
2.) Choose “Link to existing page”
3.) Click Next
4.) Click Page Finder
5.) Choose my criteria and click Search
6.) Click the link that I want
7.) Click finish on the link dialog

(To be honest I had no idea which was going to have the most clicks before I started this)

My main argument is that the link finding process in WordPress seems less intuitive and more complicated then that tools provided by CommonSpot.  This assuming that WordPress had some of the same Link Management capabilities as CS then you would be left with this question:

Would users really like an interface similar to WordPress for locating links or is the abstract link finder in CommonSpot better?

Blogging – opening the door to sales

May 10, 2008

Blogging for money may be a dangerous use of resources but what about ‘trolling’ for money.  Today I came across this awesome blog post by Jeremiah Owyang (Senior Analyst for Forrestor) – someone that I follow on Twitter and a blog that I enjoy reading.

The post (entitles CMS Horror Stories, and Your Soon-To-Be ‘Legacy’ Community Platform) is a real good read for anyone who is in the midst of a CMS selection.  In his post, Jeremiah asks to very key questions:

1) I’d love to hear from you about your CMS horror stories, feel free to leave a comment below, go ahead, vent away.

2) Are you deploying a community platform for your web strategy at your company? What are you doing to plan for the long term 5+ years impacts of this system in regards to the rest of the enterprise web strategy?

I work at PaperThin (makers of the CommonSpot Content Server) and I have to say that Jeremiah opened my eyes with this post to an amazing sales opportunity.  One that I am sure smart people are deploying (and we will be shortly as well) – and that is ‘Blog Trolling’.  A quick search on Technorati for CMS returns over 22K results.  Each search result a Blog with some information about Content Management Systems.

One of the most difficult thing to do in the world of sales is to find your target market.  What better way to find a customer interested in a CMS then on a blog post (an open communication channel) that is discussing pains or issues with their current CMS.  In solution selling this would give us the opportunity to “Recognize the pain” – for most of the people who post comments on Jeremiah’s post they are admitting their pain publicly.

Best thing about comments on a blog – since most people are constantly trying to sell their blog to readers of other blogs, they include the link in their comments (just click on the persons name).  Can’t fault a sales person from e-mailing or calling (most blogs extend contact information) you and saying:

“Hey, saw here that you were having difficulty with your current CMS and that you feel like it is ‘inflexible’.  Give me a half hour and I will show you how flexible our application is …”

In all honesty, when you post comments on a blog you are openly asking someone to contact you.  You are begging for it.

Note: More on his second question (about your Community Platform) a bit later.

Talking loudly on Twitter

April 26, 2008

Earlier this week Louis Gray wrote about his “Tweets vs. Followers” theory. His post cane be sumarized as:

I feel there are different categories of Twitter users, from those who have a listening audience, measured by a high “followers” to “updates” ratio, those who are engaging, seen with near equal “followers” and “updates”, and those who are more noisy, with a lot more “updates” than actual “followers”.

Twittering NoiseI guess I take offense (in a very lightly term) to the statement that there are more “noisy” people who have “… a lot more ‘updates’ than actual ‘followers’…”. While those that have a lower ratio between “tweets and followers” are “engaging”.

So if I have 2500 followers and 1400 tweets than essentially I am not even saying “hello” to all of the people that I am “engaging”. I think that what Louis is saying is that there are some people out there who are just blindly talking. And I would agree.

I have been followed on Twitter by various people and since I am using Twitter as a means to meet more people I used to be in the habit of of following people back that followed me. I have seen the type of people that he is talking about. They post their every move:

I just ate my apple
Got my apple out of the fridge
I think that I would like an apple
Boy, I sure could use an apple

I think that there is an interesting discussion here and it goes beyond the numbers of “tweets and followers” but what was Twitter really designed for.

I use Twitter for a couple of reason.

Reason 1: Keeping in touch with people I meet
I travel quite a bit and I meet some interesting people whom I have a lot in common with. In most cases, these people that I meet also have something common with each other (even if they don’t even know each other). Twitter is a great medium to touch them all with thoughts and questions easily.

Reason 2: Mini-Blog
Blogs take a lot of work and there is some distance between writing for fun and getting paid. I like to write and I like to “talk”. Twitter is an awesome medium for talking (quietly =). Sometimes I will have a quick idea that maybe doesn’t require an entire blog post. You can get an amazing amount of thought into 140 words.

Reason 3: It’s fun
I love to hear what other people are doing (at least the ones that I know). So Twitter keeps me smiling when I hear a friends joke or funny event. Inside jokes on Twitter are great.

I only have 66 followers yet I have posted almost 700 times. If I look at the people that I converse with the most – many of them have the same ratios that I do:

@reneemck 280 – 27
@protoolspc 205 – 30
@gregpc 1223 – 182
@mhostad 561 – 65
@knochie 754 – 43
@georgedearing 2451 – 305
@tpryan 1234 – 95

So one could argue that if you are communicating with 20 of your 2000 followers you are probably either more noisy or more popular than someone that actually communicates with more than 1% of their followers but you are certainly not more “engaging”.