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Losing Our Way in the World. Just Don’t Do It.

Losing Our Way in the World. Just Don’t Do It.

Worth a read: Losing Our Way in the World – NYTimes.com.

“Too often in the modern era, we rely on guardians to interpret events for us, and they’re too happy to step in and tell us what something “means.” But when we do this, we surrender the more primal empiricism that our ancestors surely possessed.”

Another gem:

“SADLY, we often atomize knowledge into pieces that don’t have a home in a larger conceptual framework. When this happens, we surrender meaning to guardians of knowledge and it loses its personal value.”

Groupon Is Good For Something. Newspapers Actually.

Groupon Is Good For Something. Newspapers Actually.

I have never used a Groupon. And there are plenty of nightmarish stories about how they kill small businesses. No big news here folks — it’s going, going, gone.

But not the model.

It should actually be out there reviving newspapers. That’s kind of a non-sequitur. Let me explain:

I was talking to my older friend who was a former editor and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer about how to save newspapers. He’s kind of a media curmudgeon (sorry AC!) so he didn’t quite get — or consider — the following — I’m curious to hear what you all think:

Let’s allow people — and even newspaper professionals — to post suggested stories — just like Groupons are posted and with the same gamification. Like this: People who are interested in a story can pledge some money to it, and when a level of interest and financial support is achieved, the story gets kicked off and assigned to a reporter (or a pre-assigned reporter).

This would give readers editorial pull — and it gives newspapers a business model tied to performance. Practically and financially speaking, I’d rather (or likely) spend $300 in small increments across a year, investing in particular stories or reportage rather than spend $50 on an annual subscription for content that often never connects with my interests.

I love local news — but I’m always frustrated that the ratio of good content to bad content + fluff is 1:100.

So, is the Groupon model just a model? And if it is, can it be the thing that saves journalism? It might just be able to de-couple the content-advertising dependency that has corrupted journalism.

 

 

 

Content Marketing. Now In Your Patagonia Catalog.

Content Marketing. Now In Your Patagonia Catalog.

Cool to see bona fide content in Patagonia’s clothing catalog. This spread starts off with a piece by Bill McKibben: “If there were seven wonders of the world’s destruction, the tar sands complex in Alberta might well be the first.” Sober stuff when you’re trying to decide to buy a $500 mountaineering jacket.

patagonia-catalog

Question is: Does this engender or foment “vicarious goal fulfillment”?

That’s fancy psych talk for when this critical content makes the consumer feel good about himself — that he is now current on eco news — to the extent that he allows himself to buy lots of (read: unnecessary) clothes. This is similar to how the inclusion of salads on fast food menus actually increases the consumption of Big Macs.

 

How Do You Get From Point A To Point B?

Do we really know the best way forward? Are their innate — subconscious — forces deciding for us? Most definitely. The key is to be aware of them so you can jump the hell over or through them.

Here’s Paul Coelho putting it succinctly.

Salespeople 101

Ben Horowitz: “Hire sales people who are really smart problem solvers, but lack courage, hunger and competitiveness, and your company will go out of business.”

Getting the mix right is crew–shull!!!!

Lonely, Lonely Bloggers Don’t Despair

Lonely, Lonely Bloggers Don’t Despair

I’ll own up to this fact: I subscribe to the New Yorker for the comics.  Looky here:

blogging with no comments

Need I say more?

Maybe it’s funny b/c I’m a social media junkie… and here’s proof of that:

The funniest thing about this is that blog comments are almost extinct. That’s mostly good — but there is a downside. Either way, this comic is out of touch or this was drawn 3 years ago!

Mostly Good

The conversations that are happening in response to an article or sentiment are happening in the social channels — and that can be either through sharing or through social plugins. This is way better for content — content wants to get bounced around and go viral.

The Bad

What’s great about the time when all comments happened at the foot of a blog is that search engines had an easy time delivering to you great search results from the comments of blogs — they used to be a treasure trove of nuanced thinking branching off from the h1 tag– but now, comments are scattered, splintered and strewn about the (social) universe wily nilly.

I think Googlebot is probably panting like an old dog by the time it gets back to its house.

Last comment: it’s quite possible that a “follow” is the most salient and compact participatory event in the content space. Is it a comment? Dunno. Is it an affirmation? Sure thing! And, of course, dare I say: it’s desperate to be monetized.

Ok, it’s late and there are more questions pouring into my head than answers. Here’s a biggie: it seems like blogs are going to be extinct — lead by a fleeing of the comments (and feedback). But how can blogging really go extinct — we desperately need longer-form writing!

 

I Just Got ‘Warm Transferred’. It’s A Southern Thing.

I Just Got ‘Warm Transferred’. It’s A Southern Thing.

I dig language. I dig analyzing human interaction. And I dig marketing. That actually means every interaction with every business is like a moment in the lab for me.

So I hit a triple play today when I was on the phone with a State Farm customer service rep. The rep told me she wanted to get me to speak to someone from my state. She said: “Let me warm transfer you to someone in PA.”

Dingdingdingding.

My prefrontal cortex woke up with a jolt. I have honestly never heard this before.

I knew of course what it meant: to be transferred to another agent with a live agent-to-agent hand off. Of course there should be a word for that!

Shouldn’t all transfers be ‘warm’?

This is customer service gold. Use it — do it! — and your customers will be delighted.

So at the end of the call, when she asked me if I had any other questions, I checked in with her: “Did you say ‘warm transfer’?

Yes, she said bemusedly. She then politely explained what it meant and added: “It’s a Southern thing, I guess.”

Well, that makes it twice as nice.

 

What’s the Return On Putting Your Pants On In the Morning?

What’s the Return On Putting Your Pants On In the Morning?

If you’re a marketer and are wondering how worth your time it is (and your budget) to go after the infinite social media channels out there, consider what that presidential candidates are doing this year (as reported by the New York Times in Campaigns Use Social Media to Lure Younger Voters):

Worth it?

Jan Rezab, the chief executive of Socialbakers, has an interesting reply: “What’s the return on putting your pants on in the morning? We don’t know… but we just know it’s bad if you don’t do it.”

This is a pretty cool riff on the ubiquitous and probably apocryphal “don’t know which half” quote from department store magnate John Wannamaker:  “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half.”

But it seems like maybe the half here that’s in question — the social media one — could actually be paying off.

Coye Cheshire, an associate professor at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley, suggested that updates might very well be a simple way to see how a candidate measures up to themselves.

“It is important for people to know whether or not a huge political figure shares the same taste as me,” said Dr. Cheshire, who studies behavior and trust online. “And creating a playlist on Spotify is part of what makes them seem more human.”

Don’t leave home without your pants. It’s one of those things you just have to do — same goes for social media.