December 22, 2003
December 08, 2003
Peter Grunwald, President of Grunwald Associates, observes, “Previous generations of kids wrote earnest poetry, or joined rock bands to express themselves. Today’s kids do so by building personal websites. And they’re hungry for tools to help them build better, more engaging sites, and stay in closer touch with friends.”
December 01, 2003
November 19, 2003
November 17, 2003
November 11, 2003
November 05, 2003
November 04, 2003
November 03, 2003
Under the old model, agencies knew they'd lose money at the start of a relationship. Spec creative, huge pitches, new personnel, campaign development -- all the stuff one does with a new client -- were bound to lose money. Once the campaign got rolling and went on autopilot, media profits would offset the initial costs, and all would be well. It made sense to lose money at first. You made it back over the life of the contract.
This doesn't work in the new world of short-term projects. Blowing $50,000 on a pitch to win business worth $100,000 means you won't make a dime. Going overboard with creative concepts and client service at the beginning of a project means you lose money from the start. You may make it up if a project leads to another, but not if you repitch the business.
In the future, relationships will be replaced by a series of linked projects. No more keeping a client for years (unless we really screw up). Instead, we must be ready to jump to the next client and the next project on short notice.
The Number One Asset: Time
Fortunately, there are models for operating in this kind of environment. Business service industries, such as legal, financial, and consulting have operated like this for a long time. Although they have different ways of doing things, they know there's one asset more precious than any other: their time.
In a project world, you must track time, bill time, and sell time. Don't work for free and hope to make it up later. Don't give away work in new business pitches. Don't do a little extra for a relationship that isn't guaranteed to be there next month. Give good service, but get paid for the time you put into a job.
October 20, 2003
My company, Monster Worldwide, is launching an online networking community, Monster Networking, the beginning of next year. I know about as many details as is in the press release but I think the potential is incredible. Monster has 40 million job seeker accounts and thousands of recruiters all on Monster with the purpose of advancing their careers and/or business.
Monster Networking is an online community where professionals across all industries and levels can exchange information about jobs, offer expertise and help others achieve their goals.
Monster will serve as the host in this community, fostering introductions between members and encouraging them to share career advice, cultivate long-term professional relationships, and support each other's goals. Proprietary matching technology will allow Monster to proactively initiate introductions between participating members as well as promote relevant career opportunities based on criteria in a member's professional profile. Member profiles will include skills, occupation, employment history, schools attended, titles, interests, and geographic location.
October 16, 2003
October 10, 2003
October 09, 2003
October 08, 2003
I don't know -- to me blogs aren't content, but pieces of conversations. The more involved in those conversations a blog is, the more valuable the blog. If you pay for access to blogs, you limit the number of participants who can enter the conversation, thus making them less valuable.
Business Blogs are really a new form of marketing or PR. They are a way to engage with a customer base to grow a customer base and keep that customer base engaged with your business.
For the most part, the business blog isn't a business ends, but a means to more business.
October 07, 2003
October 02, 2003
SPAM isn't the problem. It's just the volume of legitimate email. David Gelernter in the Weekly Standard has a great write-up on my email overload problem (okay, yours too) and offers some possible solutions. (via Many2Many)
Sheer volume has turned email into an unreliable medium. Spam to the side, there is already too much (honest, legitimate) email for people to manage, and so they overlook messages or forget to answer them, in consequence of which conversations peter out into nothing--and no one is quite sure why, or what to do next. Excessive email volume is a fact of life and is never going away. The threat--which is guaranteed to force a massive retreat from this spiffy new medium within a few years unless we solve it--is the growing opacity of email, the Black Hole problem. If you haven't encountered it yet . . . just wait. Spam makes it worse, but it was a problem before spam and will remain long after spam is cured.
Here's how it works. You get an email (maybe longer or more complicated than average, or from someone you don't know); you have no time to respond right now, but you mean to answer--but other emails stack up, and you answer those first--but you still plan to reply--but more emails keep arriving. . . . Meanwhile the sender is wondering: Is he ignoring me on purpose? (I'll cross him off my list and forget about it.) Did he mean to reply, but has since forgotten? (Resend my message.) Or does he still mean to reply and just hasn't gotten around to it? (Don't get mad or resend.) All three possibilities are real, and happen all the time.
As volume rises, more email conversations trail off into nothing for unknown reasons, the medium is devalued further, and the problem gets worse--people set even less store by a mail message, send one out on even less provocation, volume rises, more email conversations trail off into nothing for unknown reasons, the medium is devalued even further.
September 23, 2003
September 22, 2003
September 17, 2003
But 60 Minutes II was on and Dan Rather was interviewing two soldiers from the Iraq war who were held prisoner for 21 days. They were beaten with sticks, kicked and hit after being captured. Moved to a jail in Baghdad with a "tin roof" during the most intense bombing by the Americans. Their 3-foot thick jail cell walls shook. They never comprehended the might of U.S. force until they witnessed it first hand. They thought they were going to killed by friendly fire while held captive. One smiled at the guards every time a bomb dropped while the whole building shook to give himself a small victory. They heard American tanks roll in and thought they were about to be rescued just to be swept up by guards and driven around to probable targets to be killed. They were driven through the cross fire at 100 mph in the back of a small ambulance which leaned on 2 wheels as it took turns. They were brought into a small village and kept captive in a house. A Commander got a tip they were in the house. And with "professionalism, just how they were trained" hard-fought Marine killers who marched from Kuwait stormed the house and rescued the U.S. soldiers.
Mixed up travel plans aren't so bad after all.
September 16, 2003
Good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity came mostly from the "open source" nature of the early mechanical equipment used in agriculture and manufacturing. The wheels, gears, cranks, belts, pulleys, sifting, sorting, bundling, bobbing, and weaving were all right out there. If anything broke, workers in the field and factory fixed it — and if they were worth anything, improved on whatever it was that broke. James Watt "invented" the steam engine when he was asked to repair a Newcomen engine and turned it from a single-stroke to a two-stroke piston action. Much of America's rapid advances in industrialization in the 19th century came from these self-taught mechanics who moved from fixing equipment in their small towns to developing their own more radical innovations....
Is this bad? It depends on whose perspective you take. McCormick (of the reaper) and many others found that farmers and local craftsmen were knocking off their products (and improving upon them) in ways that both made it hard for them to amass fortunes, but also in ways that rapidly improved on the technologies. Patent and copyright laws protect the first to claim legal ownership, but deny the origins of their work and, as badly, forestall future improvements by others.
more on enabling lead consumers in product innovation here.
September 11, 2003
September 10, 2003
The panel discussion was engaging and typical at the same time. It was probably the right mix for audience we had. No new ground was broken and Debbie Weil (who I realized I had been mispronouncing her name since subscribing to her newsletter --- its 'wile' not 'weel') said as we were leaving "It went well, but I'm not sure what we accomplished" to which I replied "Isn't that what blogging is all about?"
One of the topics included whether aggregators will replace email newsletters. Not until recently have I thought perhaps. But it makes total sense to me. Why not subscribe to RSS feeds and have them pulled from a website when email is overwhelming in its volume of not only spam but legitimate email. I give it 2 years until most email newsletters are delivered via RSS. Some of the audience members gasped when Bill Kearney, RSS guru, suggested such a thing.
One other interesting thought I had about the panel was Jeanne Jennings who is an email marketer, kept referring to herself as a contrarian. I thought business blogger proponents were the contrarians. It seems that a shift was made. She's not anti-blog, but thinks they aren't the most effective business communication medium. Jeanne made a terrific point about business blogs .... "I'm a business person, if it's not affecting the bottom line it's not for me." Great point, but I think we need to look at the long-term effects in terms of customer loyalty. If anyone can take a look the recent Harvard Business Review, Hailley Suitt has a terrific fictional case study about a woman at a medical supply company who started a blog without the knowledge of management and attracted quite a loyal customer base for a line of gloves her company was selling. If blogs can create that kind of affinity and can create conversations within a market among your customers you're achieving something that marketers rarely could do, leverage word-of-mouth. Even business people should like that. ;)
After the panel there was some good mingling in the crowd. For the blog newbies, I found some skeptics. Who is going to pay someone to blog all day? Who has time with all the other things that go into a typical work day? I see no difference between blogging and discussion groups. All valid points, but I'm sure someone's salary is much cheaper than most advertising. I bet within any organization larger than 20 people there's a natural born blogger in there that is waiting at the wings to let it all out. Blogs, unlike discussion boards, give the blogger ownership of a website. Conversations are carried across websites, as opposed to on them.
Several audience members told me they learned a lot. It was a great experience for me as well, as I had never moderated a panel before.
September 08, 2003
UPDATE: Unfortunately Stowe Boyd is working on the West coast. But Bill Kearney from Syndic8 has graciously agreed to fill-in last minute.
Thanks to Rick for passing along my name.
August 26, 2003
One of my favorite email pubs started a blog .... MarketingProfs. Check it out.
Anyone in the DC area should be sure to attend the New Media Society's panel on business blogging. I'll be in attendance and Debbie Weil will be a panelist. They claim to have 70 people registered so far! Looking forward to it!
And check back here soon as things should pick up.
July 30, 2003
The evidence is more apparent every day. For the past few years at work I've had this feeling of the kid in the back of the class with an idea waiving his hand but chickening out at the last minute because he thought no one would understand where he was coming from. "These people only know the old paradigm. How could I possibly get them to understand the new. It's so foreign to them." Perhaps Cluetrain and Gonzo led me to believe this too much.
But as I see things like Up2Speed playing a dominant role in shaping online marketing and advertising and I hear things like "community of trust" and "connecting buyers with buyers" in my 35 year old company's strategy meeting .... really making something out of our company's 'noble purpose,' "Bringing people together to advance their lives" I feel like the sales job is going to be a heck of a lot easier. People are starting to get it.
Which brings me to the title of this entry and a new book coming out in the fall, Beyond Branding. While I've only read the website, this book looks like it encompasses what I see as true branding. All companies brand, whether it's the image they wish to portray or the reality of the organization. The book includes a whole slew of authors coming from various branding backgrounds and talks about "a long term, people-centric view that stresses substance over hype. [It] will help to restore credibility and trust for brands. It will re-affirm the mutual commitment of the employee/employer relationship. It will give power to the consumer. And it will stress the pre-eminence of the genuine shareholder over the speculator." With sections on Authenticity, Transparency and Brand Ownership, this looks to be a good addition to the latest in ideas on the transformation of marketing.
(thanks to Ton for the Beyond Branding link)
July 29, 2003
The reason blogging has been light is I've been spread all over the place. Literally. Okay, not literally because that would be quite disgusting. But I've been traveling like a madman. I was in San Francisco the beginning of the month and from there headed to Sonoma for a client convention. In San Francisco I learned that I had been accepted to participate in a strategy workshop for my division at TMP with Earnst & Young which was quite an honor. I had to hop back on a plane to Boston the day after getting back from my trip out west. But it was well worth it. It's got me quite pumped up about the direction of my division and my interest is piqued at some of the things going on at Monster. If you read this blog regularly you know what my passions are ... and that's about as specific as I can get. Back from Boston I had a full week at work last week catching up but am back on the road this week in Chicago where I'm working with our office here. I really like Chicago. And really like the people in this office. Smart, hard working, passionate. It's a nice environment. I'm fly home tomorrow night but heading to a friend's bachelor party on Friday. Get back Sunday afternoon and leave sunday evening for a BIG client meeting in Vegas and finally am finished up there and back home next Tuesday evening. Whew.
Needless to say, you can tell why blogging has been light, and will probably continue to be so. The traveling has been exhausting, but fulfilling. Especially since fun has been mixed in and even the work places ain't to shabby. Not to mention some good things going on at work.
July 21, 2003
July 15, 2003
July 07, 2003
July 05, 2003
July 02, 2003
July 01, 2003
We snagged a terrific deal on Hotwire at the Mark Hopkins Inter-Continental on Nob Hill. Don't have much of a plan except that we get in Sat. night and leave for Sonoma Thursday morning for a client convention. Looking through Fodor's, I definitely want to hit North Beach and Chinatown. And I'm sure we'll end up in the Wharf. But if anyone has suggestions on what to see, I'd love to hear them.
June 30, 2003
- Maintain Absolute Integrity
- Niche With Passion
- Put the Power of Inertia on Your Side
- Build In Scalability
- Keep It Lean
- Stay Humble: Maintain a Vertical Learning Curve
- Honor the Customer's Intelligence
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
- Yoda Says, "Give, Then Take"
- Ideas Are Only Sparks
- Build a Three Legged Stool
- Build Community
- Respect the Power of the Index Finger
- Convert Liabilities Into Assets
Love the new toolbar! Especially the Blog This and Pop-up blocker. Anyway, could you provide a script users could put on their blogs that would keep track of the number of pop-ups the toolbar has blocked? Something like: "My Google Toolbar has blocked 103 pop ads since June 27, 2003!)
Not that anyone cares. But that's how much I'm digging this new tool. BTW, I'm at 38 on my work computer. Not sure what's at home....
June 27, 2003
June 26, 2003
June 25, 2003
Andy formed a new company, Up2Speed, also acquired Adventive, an online discussion group. According to Rafat Ali's scoop, Andy hopes to use"the mix of vertical-focused weblogs and e-mail newsletters/discussion group ... [to] cross promote the sites through the discussion lists and vice-versa, with ad revenues coming in from both ends."
hmmm.... this is the first time I know of that a blog has been bought.
Looking forward to how it plays out.
[later] -- Marketing Fix has more here.
[later later] so does Andy.
June 24, 2003
June 17, 2003
June 16, 2003
As I write this on Thursday, the event, and blogs about the event, still dominate Popdex's Web site popularity index (starting at number three) -- even though the conference ended Tuesday....That's reach, frequency, and targeting....
If your organization has staff with the vision, thought leadership, and evangelistic qualities that could make for a good marketing blog, make certain that person checks strategy at the door before posting the first entry. Blogs are good for supporting an agenda or idea, but they aren't a strategy or an end in themselves when used in a business context. Blogs must be personal, an open loop, and, above all, honest.
June 15, 2003
But Rick is walking the talk. He posted clients he has set up weblogs for: BizNetTravel and Roundtable Communications. Of course Marcromedia was one of the first, and so was Dr. Pepper and who can forget Barbie. I'd also say that Dave Winer and the whole Radio Userland group is a prime example of business blogs .... although they've never been billed as such. Fellow DC area blogger, James Robertson, blogs for his company Cincom SmallTalk. You might be saying, so what's the big deal, sounds like there're lots of companies out there. Dr. Pepper didn't get it. Barbie is purely fictional. And most other business blogs are from software/tech companies. Rick's are some of the first to break outside of the tech arena.
June 13, 2003
June 12, 2003
Weblogs and personal journalism are never going to be a threat to Adweek or Advertising Age like several people implied (as an example) today. This is one of the few times where I have been up close and personal to a decade-long series of such predictions regarding the demise of century-old B2B media companies and have, at the same time, known personally the people who run and own those companies. I only need to mention the company Vertical Net to remind folks that at one time, there was a company with the mythical stock-market value of several billions of dollars that was going to be a threat to all Business to Business media by moving it all to the web. I think it’s great that people are blogging about media and marketing. I am happy to note that I’ve been blogging about magazines for the past two years. But friends, I am never going to be a threat to Folio: with just a weblog. (Not to imply they don’t have threats.) I’m apples, they’re oranges. The world is big enough for me to do what I do for whatever reasons drive me to do it and for them to do likewise. VNU and Crain have nothing to worry about from bloggers threatening their established media properties. That is especially true about Crain Communications (Ad Age, Automotive News, etc.), as Keith and Rance Crain are two of the most unique media executives left in America: They both have voices (very human voices) of authority, integrity and truth and near-radical independence. They mince no words and back down from no one. I doubt they will ever blog, but their decades of commentary about automobiles and advertising are the purest examples of human-voice insight those two industries will ever hear. Come to think of it, however, I think they would blog if they didn't have all those other ways to tell the world what they believe.
(link via Doc)
June 09, 2003
June 08, 2003
Wish I was There ClickZ Weblog Business Strategies - LIVE
The blogroll for the event: (blogging live in bold)
Dave Winer and here (pics here)
Timothy Appnel(day 2 here)
Rick Bruner and here and here, not to mention here
Michael O'Connor Clarke
Debbie Weil I didn't know you had a blog!
June 04, 2003
Wikis let the group voice emerge. Many people participate within a given wiki, each with an equal voice in a shared space that anyone can edit. Its a different act of sharing to contribute your words to a page that others can build upon. Our instinct is to at first believe this would create conflict and distrust, but it actually builds trust. Each wiki page reflects the current consensual understanding of a given concept. A page isn't a complete or perfect understanding, information and conditions change too quickly for it to be possible Instead, a little wabi-sabi and trusting others allows something powerful to emerge and stay current -- a simply powerful tool for collaboration.
We aren't the only one to think of the differences between weblogs and wikis as individual and group voices. Elwin Jenkins describes it as weblogs turn individuals into webpages while wikis turn communities into webpages.
There are lots of similarities between the two tools. Both are web native, are easy to use, are link-intensive and encourage sharing.
Both are being widely adopted, wikis less visibly because of private group use and at different paces in different areas. A customer once explained to me how he thought wikis were more popular than weblogs in Asia because group voice is valued greater than individual voice. Regardless of popularity, different cultures and organizations will have different values that is reflected in their tool selection.
Its not a choice between one or another. The temporal structure of weblogs and logical structure of wikis are a complement for lasting effects. One of the more powerful patterns in an organization is how an opportunity is published in blog, possibilities are swarmed upon in blog conversation and then driven to consensus and outcome in a wikified document. After the outcome, the knowledge and its social context remains.
Jim McGee has more here and here. Thanks Dina for the great Wiki links! (she has even more if you visit her blog).
- Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software, by Steven Johnson.
- Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, by Duncan Watts.
- Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, by Howard Rheingold.
- Linked: The New Science of Networks, by Albert-László Barabási.
- Small Pieces Loosely Joined, by David Weinberger.
- “The Strength of Weak Ties,” by Mark Granovetter [from the American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 78, No. 6. (May, 1973), pp. 1360-1380.] RIT faculty can retrieve a PDF of this article by going to the JSTOR database via the RIT library, and searching for author=Granovetter and title=weak ties in the Sociology journals.
- The Social Construction of Technological Systems, an excellent collection of essays discussing (among other things) the recursive interrelationships between social contexts and technological tools.
June 03, 2003
So, this is my long-winded way of saying I've started a new section on my blogroll for Social Networks. There are only three now. I really want to focus only on blogs/sites that fully dedicate themselves to social networks and/or social software. So please take a look at:
SmartMobs (was already on the roll but got relocated)
May 29, 2003
For fees ranging from $50 to $300 -- a small fraction of what most lawyers charge even for an uncontested divorce -- couples are being provided with the appropriate forms and varying degrees of help completing them.
The phenomenon is spreading. Rival firms CompleteCase.com and LegalZoom.com each say they have served 20,000 clients nationwide in less than three years of operation. Hits on the divorce section of the California court system's do-it-yourself Web site soared from 6,800 in May 2002 to about 15,000 last month.
Thankfully I'm not worried about this. I'm happily engaged to Amy. Who is, by the way, living it up in Ireland right now on an MBA trip. She says I'd love it because it's all about the Guinness and the pubs. I think she's right.
I wonder how long it will be before Rageboy and Locke call it quits? I wonder how they would decide who kept what on their wedding registry (I guess it's kinda obvious).
May 20, 2003
"Adapt." That concept has been missing from the lexicon of others writing about integrating blogging into corporate marketing and communication strategies. Todd calls blogs a disruptive technology ... and they really are in terms of the corporate world because as a means of communicating they are far different from the "attractive, expensive, stale, diluted ... corporatespeak" corporations are accustomed to providing. Blogs on the other hand "offer the human voice, which can be loud, controversial, and even wacky. But the realness of the blog inspires trust and piques people’s curiosity. A blog can create a community and a dynamic discussion."
Todd gives us four main benefits of blogs to business:
Blogs Are the “Real Voice" - which "inspires trust and piques people’s curiosity"
Blogs Are Simple - not to mention low cost
Blogs Empower the Individual - a "single person [can] capitalize on the reach and ubiquity of the Web"
Blogs Empower the Enterprise - "knowledge can be organized, distributed, and leveraged to increase the value of product and service offerings to the customer" through knowledgeable and passionate people in the company.
Todd tells us companies
should understand that controlling the content of the discussion is difficult. If you want an authentic exchange, you have to be willing to accept the stone-throwing and critical comments that often occur in a blog.
This requires extending trust and giving up some of the control a company would normally have when it publishes a press release or hosts its own online forum, for example. The upside is that people will listen to a real voice.
Hence, how and why companies should adapt and start using blogs a means of communicating.
May 16, 2003
This is a problem I have frequently. Find something with depth or length that I really want to sink my teeth into, but don't have time. Someone with more technical prowess than myself should create a tool that would allow one to quickly store links they want to reference later. Sort of a short-term Bookmark. Or a Blog Task, similar to Outlook's Tasks.
May 15, 2003
David Nelson of Gresham says he was searched and screened three times at the Portland airport, then again at the gates of Dallas and Atlanta airports before arriving in Savannah, Ga., last month. "It's as if they think you've been transformed into a terrorist en route. You'd think one screening was enough, when you haven't left a secure area the entire trip."
"What really concerned me," says David Nelson of Northwest Portland, who recently was delayed trying to fly to Juneau, Alaska, to take care of his mother, "was even when they determined I wasn't the one on the list, it's like I had a label on my forehead that says, 'One must frisk this person at every opportunity and go through his luggage.' It's as if I were a pariah." David had no idea why he was being singled out; no one mentioned a list. "My son is a pilot for Continental; I thought maybe that had something to do with it."
Oregon state Sen. David Nelson, from Pendleton, also had no idea why he was being delayed at airports. "Then we flew into the Medford airport on Horizon, and one of the agents said, 'Your name is on the list. You're going to be checked every place you go.' That was a shock."
Remember Ozzie and Harriet's son, David Nelson? "I got stopped at the John Wayne Airport" in Orange County, Calif., he said by phone from Los Angeles this week. "Two police officers knew who I was and tried to explain to the guy behind the security desk. It didn't faze him at all." Even as another officer was saying he had once met David's mother, Harriet, David was being instructed to remove his shoes, he says. "I asked, 'Does the guy on the list have a middle name of Ozzie?' He said, 'It just says David Nelson.' "
There are approx. 37,900 search results for "David Nelson" on Google.
May 14, 2003
May 13, 2003
And in an increasingly automated society, brands that create an emotional relationship with customers stand to gain a great deal: loyalty, profits, brand ambassadors, and even growth.
May 12, 2003
– Radical innovation in value created , not in technology
–Often disruptive to core business, though not necessarily so
–More substantial than product innovation
–More dimensions than technological innovation
– Requires thinking holistically about the business system
May 01, 2003
After exploring a little bit further I found this decent size list of baseball blogs. I was wondering when sports blogs were going to take off. I've registered one of my own on Blogger, "Blog to the Redskins," but haven't done anything with it yet.
The whole time I was in that business, I noticed how many problems derived from a single ironic fact: our customers and our consumers were different populations. This also was true for the media in which we placed our advertising. The people who paid for the advertising were not the same as the people who received it. Because readers, viewers and listeners paid nothing for the advertising they consumed, their direct influence on the advertising they consumed was about the same. Between advertisers and consumers, advertising was not a way for the twain to meet--that's what sales and promotion was for.
Doc Quoting Richard Holding of Google's Adwords program:
The premise behind the ads on the right side, Adwords, is an auction model. People bid on placement based on keywords. They set the maximum cost per click (CPC) they're willing to pay. In effect, they set their true reservation price: the maximum they're willing to pay. They pay no more than slightly above the next lowest competitor, so there's no winner's curse where you outbid everybody by an extreme margin. This creates a competitive marketplace where advertisers bid on leads generated for them by search results.
We take a relevancy factor into account. We rank the ad, based on the click-through rate. So a lower-bid ad with a higher click-through rate will be ranked, placed, higher in the list of results.
Doc argues that this model will change the face of advertising. I tend to disagree. While I applaud its effectiveness, it really is no different than a more sophisticated model of what the yellow pages industry terms "directional marketing." Directional marketing is simply a form of advertising where instead of the advertiser pushing a message out to the consumer, customers are seeking the advertiser. The auction and relevancy model at Google just makes this process easier and more customer-friendly.
There is still a need for businesses to generate brand recognition, awareness, preference and reinforcement. While there may be no customer demand for this messaging, that doesn't mean that good advertising is ineffective. The key to successful brand advertising and even direct response is to target an audience who will respond to, either the message or an offer, without being alienated or annoyed. It's just that we're in a world where this isn't being done effectively because frequency and intrusion is a primary strategy for many advertisers. The volume is being turned up, when really it's the composition that should be refined.
April 28, 2003
I remember the Meet Up occured shortly after the big snow storm. Only 2 of us, Samara, the camera guy and sound guy were there. We were rapping pretty well and about to get started. The other 2 showed up. While once the tape started rolling, I was the least dominent participant in the conversation (I was overcoming a bad cold, not to mention I rarely dominate a conversation -- just my style), we had a good round table.
Couldn’t do the live blogging. TV wasn’t meant to be blogged with all its sound bites. Even watching PBS. It’s a good thing for VCR’s. I know there are some awful spelling mistakes and no links. Sorry if I butchered anyone's name. I'll fix it up. I wanted to get this out as soon as possible.
Here’s what caught my eye:
“4 guys in a bar. In this case, 4 bloggers in a bar.” I like the start. Things that start in a bar couldn’t be all that bad ;)
James Robertson: “Weblogging is much the same thing as keeping a diary. It is a way of putting up your thoughts of what ever is going through your life that day. Sometimes I’m ranting, sometimes I’m saying this is kind of neat.”
Thomas Bascom: “So I look at blogging as a group of millions of people trying to share their message, writing passionately about what they’re interested in, telling stories.”
Cutting from the bar scene. Moving to the war in Iraq.
Newshour offers analysis:
-Weblogs offer alternative views.
-They are incredibly up-to-date (Command Post)
-Singular person perspectives: Salam Pax, Blogger in Iraq. Last entry the same day as when the power went out.
I think this gives first hand account of situation without the interference of editors and corporate interests.
Soapbox vs. New Interactive form of participatory journalism:
MSNBC Exec. Producer Joan Connell, selects and edits weblogs on MSNBC: Why people blog: “narcissism, creativity and a desire to connect with like-minded people.”
“That is what journalism is all about actually, in some ways. And it’s what creating communities is all about. That’s one of the great challenges to us as news gatherers and journalists. How do we discover information and share it in creative ways with people. Give them the information they need to make decisions in their lives as citizens.”
Newshour: Laced with edge and attitude. Hypertext is often included (and might I add imperative to interesting blogging). Subject matter as diverse as the internet itself. From classic cars to sex to knitting.
But it is the opinion journalism weblogs that can and have made a difference in the public policy arena … bringing down Trent Lott.
Joshua Marshall (Talking Points Memo): Mainstream media largely ignored the situation but bloggers kept the issue afloat. Talks about the status quo of journalism. Blogs kept the issue from dying.
News organization subsequently started covering the controversy. POWER of media.
Joan: The Lott issue gathered momentum – created a buzz through very grassroots movement.
Is weblogging journalism?
Joan: “One of the values we place on our own weblogs is that we edit our webloggers. Out their in the blogosphere often it goes from the mind of the blogger to the mind of the reader. And there’s no back up. And I would submit that that editing factor really is the factor that makes it journalism. Are you making a mistake here? Do you really want to say that? Do you really want to use that word? Is that libelous? All those basic journalism questions that we always ask.”
This is interesting to me because it’s almost exactly what Henry Copeland and I briefly discussed after DC DOT COMM in January …. He said much of the same.
However, this is where I disagree with Joan. Those are the “basic journalism questions that news media always ask?” (paraphrased). I think instead of saying the editor/writer structure makes MSNBC’s blogs real journalism and others not is somewhat of a biased statement to the existing (or shall I say old) hierarchy in the news media.
There are different types of journalism. The journalism that blogging brings to the table is a singular person, gonzo style. In the flesh, without hierarchical control. And to the point of several in the story, blogging is participatory journalism. I would even call it conversational journalism. Conversations do not hold the same characteristics as broadcast communication. I would argue that there is a mutual understanding between reader and writer in much the same way that our real world debates and converses.
Where the news media has its shortcomings, conversational journalism can often times take up the slack. Pressure from advertisers and media monopoly self interests creates a bias in the news media.
John Irons: Blogging is about personal Expression: Try to become a better writer.
Me: Its really what the web is all about …. Each person having their own voice and the democrization of media.
Dick Riley, attorney, is a reader of weblogs. Emailed Joshua Marshal his thoughts on an entry he did on the naming of the department of Homeland Security. This is the participatory nature of blogging and the potential the internet holds. Readers and writers are much more intimately engaged.
Riley: “Sophisticated political commentary in bite-sized chunks….You get the opportunity to correspond in real time with the writers…. It’s an absolute conversation between political and cultural commentators and their readers.”
Weblogs are helping shape opinions and keeping the citizenry more engaged in political discourse.
I'll blog more after the show. A transcript will be posted here in the next couple of days.
April 23, 2003
No one has dwelled on the essential otherness of a work of art. There is, after all, that hackneyed but profound notion of a willing suspension of disbelief. Genuine art makes you stake your credulity on the patently counterfeit. It takes you by surprise. And for art to take you by surprise, you have to put yourself in the power of another world--the work of art--and in the power of another person--the artist.
Yet everything in our society, so saturated with economic imperatives, tells us not to surrender our interests even for a moment, tells us that the only forms of cultural expression we can trust are those that give us instant gratification, useful information, or a reflected image of ourselves. So we are flooded with the kind of art that deprecates attentiveness, tells us about the issues of the day, and corresponds to our own personalities. And if a genuine work of art appears that has none of these qualities, critics impose them anyway, for they fear that if they surrender themselves to the work's strangeness, they will seem vulnerable and naive and intellectually unreliable.
And how the marketing backfired:
Since the film's producers had mounted such an immensely noisy publicity campaign--Kubrick's last film; one of the world's greatest directors tackles the subject of sex, sex, sex by staging the most erotic orgy scene ever filmed; see Nicole Kidman nude; see Tom Cruise nude; see the couple married in real life make love on the screen--the critics had to show that they were not going to allow bullying commerce to determine their experience of the film. So they decided not to respond to the film. They decided to respond to the hype. And the result was that the hype totally determined their experience of the film.
April 22, 2003
April 20, 2003
But something is incomplete. It's terrific that some companies are starting to use blogs as a means of marketing and/or communicating with their customers. These companies truly are pioneers. However I think there's even greater potential. Instead of blogging for customers, companies should be creating blog networks of customers. This is one of the things I give Dr. Pepper some credit for attempting. Call it jumping on the band wagon, but I think Richard's Interactive has got something right.
A hypothetical example: Take Lowe's, the home improvement store. Why not create an entire section of their website dedicated to stories their customers tell about home improvement? Mom at Home, Creating Home Decor, Jarrett House North and other blogs discussing home improvement projects could be integrated into the Lowe's site. Not only would Lowe's engage their customers but will help build their own network of blogs. It's not a closed system, but capitalizing on an existing one and helping to build upon it. Of course Lowe's should hop in the game with a couple blogs of their own from their experts.
The advantage to Lowe's: They not only become associated with their customers, but they become highly entrenched with them. The more they are honestly engaged, the better their brand equity... or brand value.
April 18, 2003
The search site helps find people who can answer your questions. Instead of finding static pages, you are connected to people who are online and ready to respond. Once the site is packed with people it will be an incredible tool. The proud father has much more to say.
I do wonder if this would be better served on a p2p platform like Gnuetella?
April 17, 2003
Why did that chicken cross the road?
GEORGE W. BUSH
We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to
know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is
either with us or it is against us. There is no middle ground here.
Now at the left of the screen, you clearly see the satellite image of
the chicken crossing the road.
We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been
allowed access to the other side of the road.
MOHAMMED ALDOURI (Iraq ambassador)
The chicken did not cross the road. This is a compl ete fabrication. We
don't even have a chicken.
This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were quite justified in
dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it
The chicken's habitat on the original side of the road had been
polluted by unchecked industrialist greed. The chicken did not reach the
unspoiled habitat on the other side of the road because it was crushed
by the wheels of a gas-guzzling SUV.
To steal a job from a decent, hard-working American.
I don't know why the chicken crossed the road, but I'll bet it was
getting a government grant to cross the road, and I 'll bet someone out
there is already forming a support group to help chickens with
crossing-the-road syndrome. Can you believe this? How much more of
this can real Americans take? Chickens crossing the road paid for by
their tax dollars, and when I say tax dollars, I'm talking about your
money, money the government took from you to build roads for chickens
No one called to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a
standing order at the farmer's market to sell my eggs when the price
dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider
Because the chicken was gay! Isn't it obvious? Can't you people see the
plain truth in front of your face? The chicken was going to the other
side. That's what they call it -- the other side. Yes, my friends, that
chicken is gay. And, if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too.
I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that
liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like the
Did the chicken cross the road?
Did he cross it with a toad?
Yes, The chicken crossed the road,
But why it crossed, I've not been told!
To die. In the rain. Alone.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads
without having their motives called into question.
In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told
us that the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.
Isn't that interesting? In a few moments we will be listening to the
chicken tell, for the first time, the heart-warming story of how it
experienced a serious case of molting and went on to accomplish its
life-long dream of crossing the road.
Imagine all the chickens crossing roads in peace.
It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
It was an historical inevitability.
I may not agree with what the chicken did, but I will defend to the
death its right to do it.
To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.
You saw it cross the road with your own eyes! How many more chickens
have to cross before you believe it?
The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road
reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.
I have just released eChicken 20 03, which will not only cross roads,
will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook
- and Internet Explorer is an inextricable part of eChicken.
Did the chicken really cross the road or did the road move beneath
I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What do you mean by chicken?
Could you define chicken, please?
I missed one?
April 07, 2003
March 31, 2003
I met Amy the last weekend of May in 2000. It was a smokey basement bar with low ceilings and happy music where my buddies and I spent most of our Friday and Saturday evenings the first few years out of college. I watched some nights as my friends tried to pick up sloshed attorney's in mini skirts and high heels who made 5 times as much as them and get denied one after the other. Every once in a while an empty phone number would be written down with an empty promise and I would watch my friends sweat it out until their calls would go unanswered. "Swingers?" Me, I just watched and chuckled to myself .... I'm not the type of guy who picks up chicks in a bar.
Until I met Amy.
The night we met, my visits to the Madhatter (the smokey bar) were starting to spread out. My roommate and I met up with one of our new neighbors to head downtown. Everyone's eyes were ablaze to find a catch while I laughed a bit. Our neighbor had spotted a contact from the PR agency he worked with and we started mingling. I remember my roommate hitting on one of the girls doing his dance and making his laugh. A girl and I start talking. We laughed at my roommate. We talked more. We move away from the absurdness. We're really connecting.
At one point she asks where I grew up and I say Damascus. As you can tell by looking at me, this seems a little strange. I was born in a small town about 20 miles north of Washington, DC. It's called Damascus. "So what was it like growing up in Syria?" "Huh?" We laughed.
So the night goes on and we keep on talking. Last call is made. Lights are up. Our friends are leaving. Her friends had left. My friend hands me a napkin. We exchange numbers. No empty promises. "We met through friends."
A month later Amy we feel an overwhelming desire to celebrate. I mean come on, it's our one month anniversary. She takes me out to Merikesh, and we have a blast. I write her a note telling her I think I'm falling in love. A few weeks later we find ourselves at Rehoboth Beach on a bench facing the ocean. She tells me she loves me. I tell her I love her too.
Our next adventure sends us to Boston where she had traveled to from New York with her "friend" from France who was of the opposite sex. I trusted her. We met up (as planned) in Boston where my college friends were meeting up. She was meeting up with one of her college friends. We were all going to hang out and have a party like the best of them. Things turned sour. I didn't include her. She was the only girl. And the guys from college were together again for the first time in a LONG time. My friends felt bad. They apologized. I apologized. Apologies were accepted. It hung around for a while .... and I think we'll be able to make it to Boston again soon.
The days couldn't be more filled. We loved to travel. We went to Los Angeles and San Diego where Amy met my best friend Dave. We hung out at Skybar which was way better than us in a pretentious kind of way. We got omelettes and toured LA as Dave dropped scripts off at the home of big shots on the TV show, "The Street." We drove from LA to San Diego in a golden convertible Mustang. In San Diego we spent hours on a boat in Mission Bay. Scott nearly lost the boat and his finger when he tried to dock it ("i've never done this before"). My dad calls himself Agile Jack. I'm Smooth Movin' Scott.
From there we grew closer and closer and stronger and stronger. We traveled more. We enjoyed doing everything together. There were tough times too. Our relationship was tested by religion. It was tested by time. And doubt. Not to mention an MBA. But we learned to work with differences, remain true to ourselves and true to each other. True love overcame anything. And I'm thankful our patience didn't break and our love persisted.
So Scott, enough of the cheese, get to the details, how did you propose?
I'll start with last Thursday night. I had driven back two and a half hours in a downpour from Delaware where I had bought her ring -- the one she really wanted. The weekend before she was "wondering" if it might be happen soon. I hinted that it might be a while due to some "factors." My plan was to cook her a nice dinner. Stuffed pork chops out of this new recipe book we had just been given by her parents. Candlelights. Champagne. I'm checking over the recipe just to make sure it's all set -- all the ingredients are ready to go. Wait a second! She's .... gonna hate this! She doesn't like barbecue. I need a grill! I don't have a grill! I can't cook the most special dinner of my life for my new fiancee on a GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL!!!!! ............. PANIC..................biggest night of my life .......calming down ..........thinking ..........She likes Blacks Bar and Kitchen. Very nice restaurant down the street. Get reservations. I'll leave a note. A note in her car so she's surprised! And I'll set everything up in the apartment so it's perfect a perfect night.
And it was perfect. I got to Blacks an half hour before she arrived. Thinking about what she was thinking about, about the note I left which said, "Surprise.... Meet me at Blacks. Don't go home. Love, Scott." She walks through the door. I smiled. My cheeks hurt. I was excited and nervous and happy and she knew me well enough to know. She gave me a look that put me right at ease. She had the look that something was up, she thought she knew what it was, but she couldn't be too sure. She asked lots of questions, and I told her her rule tonight was no questions .... every next move will be a surprise. We enjoyed a terrific meal. When we were done, she asked me, "what's the next surprise?" We hopped in the car and headed back to our apartment.
We walked in the door and I had the lights low and two wine glasses on the coffee table in the living room. I told her to sit on the couch. I went into the kitchen, got the champagne ready and the ring out of the cabinet. I walked to her and sat on the couch. Our eyes were intensely connected for 10 seconds. I was speechless and was overcome by the best feeling I've ever felt. I said about half the words I had rehearsed over and over again. I asked her to marry me. And she said yes.
It truly was the most amazing feeling in the world. And I'm still dancing here on cloud nine. I hope that everyone can meet someone as special as Amy Cohen.
March 10, 2003
March 03, 2003
March 02, 2003
Somehow, I feel like blogging might be making my writing worse. A professor told me once in college that there are no good writers, only good re-writers. Which makes sense because usually the first thing that is thrown down on paper sounds like crap --- it's the ideas that matter at first, then you re-write and re-write it again and again and again into Robert Frost-like prose .... or something like that. Blogging is more like a stream of consciousness -- there might be a couple read-thrus -- but I'm not out to make a masterpiece. Blogging tends to be quantity over quality. Which is why when Chris said, "writing is a sacred thing. Each word must be carefully considered, weighed, mulled over, its connotations and juxtapositional conjunction with previous words and (possible) meanings thought about deeply, agonized over," I let out a sigh of relief. This is what writing is to me. I am constantly in awe of the people who can write so well, so frequently.
So I ask the question, is blogging synonymous with writing? In the traditional sense of writing, I say no. Blogging is more like speech -- spontaneous, conversational, rough, imperfect. But like writing, it is closer to being permanently stored in history. Speech is gone once it is spoken.
I'm starting to notice that those who write for a living are the ones that blog with a unique and powerful voice. I don't think blogging can make you a better writer -- rather being a better writer will make you a better blogger. (And then there's Eric Norlin who always seems to be the exception to the rule -- I think Eric just has a clear head -- which helps his rap)
A clear head. That's another thing. There always seems to be ten things I'm trying to do at once. The Wall Street Journal had an article this week on how multi-tasking makes us less effective.
A growing body of scientific research shows one of jugglers' favorite time-saving techniques, multitasking, can actually make you less efficient and, well, stupider. Trying to do two or three things at once or in quick succession can take longer overall than doing them one at a time, and may leave you with reduced brainpower to perform each task.
Even while I'm not actually doing 10 other things, the weight of ten other things seems to be pressuring downward in some fashion. This tends to make my blogging words with meaning, but no impact. When I write well, I need to be focused on the task at hand. My girlfriend always asks why I usually just link and quote other writers and bloggers. It usually means, God I wish I had the time and mind-set to write about that, but this will do. A reference point for myself for a later time, and maybe something my readers will like.
So, you might see fewer words here, but more meaning in the weeks to come. We'll just see how it goes.
February 28, 2003
February 24, 2003
But according to Doug Fox, "I think Meckler’s weblog misses the mark. His barrage of attacks against Fred Rosen, CEO of Key3Media, producer of Comdex, may get him some short-term publicity, but it does nothing for his contention that he grasps the premise behind weblogs. Yes, Meckler writes in the first person, but he doesn’t seem to have the slightest notion that blogging is, for the most part, a communal, shared experience."
Robert Scoble chimed in with similar comments: "I wouldn't brag about "getting weblogs" before your competitors have. You still haven't gotten the concept. You haven't linked to a single site that's not on Jupiter's domain yet. Weblogs are all about sharing, not about taking. So far Alan wants all the attention, but doesn't want to share with others. I'm unimpressed."
My own personal comments on Meckler .... looks like he pissed some people off. But I checked out his blog and it is written in a human voice -- it's not crafted in marketing-speak, which is important. Missing links is a big no-no. But hopefully he'll learn. He won't get any incoming traffic he doesn't share -- he'll be an island, as opposed to part of a community -- so evolution might have it's way with him.
The overall message is, beware marketers looking to jump on the bandwagon. You're marketing efforts will self-deconstruct if you don't get it!