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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!

 

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.

 

Mobile + Social Has Got to Get Faster and More Meaningful

Mobile + Social Has Got to Get Faster and More Meaningful

Just took the girls out to breakfast at the Classic Diner in Malvern, PA and besides having great food and a zany time, I had a social media epiphany after seeing this:

Restaurant receipt and social media

Social media – a half start

 

Kudos for the Classic Diner for getting their social media Calls-to-Action (CTA) on their receipts–a great engagement point–but they should have gone a step further. But, really, it’s not all their fault–the industry has to step up a bit too. Let me explain:

The restaurant could have added short URLs–or better yet a QR code (although this would have precluded perhaps having two CTAs). But what would really create a tipping point is a one-step action that creates a better connection to the consumer. I think two things have to happen:

1. Mobile phones have to build QR tech right into the camera.

2. Businesses have to focus and decide what their engagement goal is.

If I had my way, Classic Diner clients would see a QR code on this receipt and by snapping a photo of it they would automatically ‘like’ the restaurant on Facebook. Or, better than that, they would sign up to receive direct–perhaps even custom–offers right from the restaurant.

Bottom line: businesses should make the connection experience radically simple and super meaningful.

 

Why Pinterest Should Pivot And Help The Real Contributors Of The Web Get Paid

Reviewers of the world it’s time to start getting paid.

There’s something wrong with the state of the internet. In particular, reviews.

We write them. We look through them. We rely on them!—even when they’re written by total strangers. They provide enormous value to internet users worldwide. They’ve transformed ecommerce. Yet we don’t own what we write.

Amazon does!

Can’t we snap our fingers and ask the silicon valley rainmakers to take the democratic ethos of the internet one step further and give individuals automatic intellectual property rights for the content we create?

Pinterest is almost there.

It allows users to curate what matters to them—but it doesn’t let us get paid if our curation brings value to a company or organization. I do recall them surreptitiously trying to swap out user-pasted urls with affiliate-laden ones. Hmm. Good idea–bad execution.

Gumroad is making waves by making any link an ecommerce storefront. Not sure if this can be executed as a default in one’s ‘lifestream’.

Yotpo is doing something interesting–using algorithms (what else!?) to find the best reviews for any product. And, Yotpo, will the writer of that ‘best review’ get something in return?

And then there is VRM–or Vendor Relationship Management. There’s lots of interesting things over there–for example, a few of their goals:

  • Make individuals the collection centers for their own data
  • Give individuals the ability to share data selectively
  • Give individuals the ability to control how their data is used by others

It’s good to know we’re heading in the right direction. Heck, there may be a startup being featured right this very instance who has solved the problem.

Regardless–let’s decide to turn the corner together and demand ownership of our thoughts and social content.

 

5000 Interviews, 5000 Errors: Social Media Let’s Famous Author–and You–Set the Record Straight

Good, little vid over on TechCrunch about Nicholas Sparks, the bestselling novelist and screenwriter (The Notebook and A Walk To Remember), on how, and more importantly why, he uses social media.

He says something almost in passing that is so critical about social media that often gets missed. Here he is (around 10:24):

“I have close to 1.2M fans on Facebook, for instance. That is my platform so to speak. It’s interesting. It’s a wonderful thing in that I’ve had 5000 articles written about me over the years. I’ve sat through 5000 interviews, right? Virtually every one has errors in them. Just little things. So this is your own platform. You can be who you need to be here.”

This is something that just did not exist before social media–that didn’t exist in earnest even 5 years ago.

Essentially, Sparks creates and directs his own interviews for his fans. This level of control and direct participation is really amazing.

And here’s the video:

Brands 2.0 – Transparency, Not Mythology

I’m new to Douglas Rushkoff, but I’m digging what he’s saying over on FastCompany about the state of ‘brands’ and the future (now!) of marketing.

In short, ditch the inflated and created ‘branding’ that takes place at your org–just be transparent and really good at what you do. BTW: One good example of this is MailChimp.

Rushkoff On “Brands”

[But] it’s not about creating a mythology around the way a product was created, so it’s no longer “these were cookies made by elves in a hollow tree.” That’s not the value of the brand. The value of the brand is where did this actually come from? What’s in this cookie? Who made it? Are Malaysian children losing their fingers in the cookie press or is this being made by happy cookie culture people? At that point, all these companies come to people like me saying, “We want to become transparent. We want a transparent communication strategy.” And I’m like “Well, are you proud of what’s going on inside your company? Are you proud enough to pull up the shades and let people see inside?” It’s that easy.

Every company has a social media strategy whether they know it or not. You can have your dedicated social media person chasing down consumer complaints, but your real social media strategy is how are the people who work at your company and the people who buy from your company and people who supply to your company, how are they talking about you in social media? The way to make them talk about you [favorably] is by walking the walk of the thing that you do. And that’s so hard for so many of these companies because they’ve become so abstracted. They’ve become so distanced from the core competence of their industry. The job of a communicator–or someone like me–is to go in and say, well, just do something. Don’t outsource one thing and then make your company about that.”

Rushkoff On Marketing

In response to: “What will marketing organizations look like in the future?”

It will be companies that figure out how to communicate the non-fiction story of a company, so it’s going to look a lot more like a communications company than a creative branding agency. It’s going to look a little bit more like PR, in some sense. It’s going to be people who go and figure out what does your company do and how do we let the world know about that? There’s going to be a lot of psychology involved, except instead of it being psychologists turned against the consumer, it’s going to be psychologists going in and trying to convince companies that what they’re doing is worthy. It’s breaking down this false need in companies to hide from the public what they’re doing–except for the ones that do (need to hide).

We’re getting back to the basics–and I like it.

Do I Really Want To “Like” Bad News?

Do I Really Want To “Like” Bad News?

No. I don’t.

And this draws attention to a unique Facebook issue–on their mobile app.

Take a look:

In this circumstance, I would like to share this news–but it’s a bit creepy to “Like” it. You know, the other meanings of the word “Like”?

They’ve got it figured out on their web site–but when are they going to get to updating their mobile app?

Lesson: be on the look out for semantic snags or the linguistic impact of your UI elements.

I throw this in as a bonus (if Facebook happens to be reading this!): let me share with a subset of my friends not everybody. Google+ has got you here, FB.

Small Biz Folks, Ditch Your Crusty Email Newsletter Sign Up Form Now!

Small Biz Folks, Ditch Your Crusty Email Newsletter Sign Up Form Now!

If there has ever been an analog-t0-digital snafu worth solving, it’s the small biz email newsletter sign up form.

How many times have you seen those little note books covered in pizza sauce, jammed-up on the counter, closed or otherwise being ineffective and uninviting? It screams: “We’ll never add these to anything and you’ll never get an email from us!”

That’s why MailChimp’s Chimpadeedoo is my hero. Looky here:

MailChimp's Chimpadeedoo

That’s a sweet iPad rendering of their new technology. With auto-sync to their email platform, MailChimp has elegantly left small biz folk with a sweet opportunity: to actually communicate with their clients via email.

There’s no reason anymore not to do it.

Technology that makes things suuuuuuper easy takes the cake every time.

The Reverse Newspaper, Groupon Style

It’s time for some radical thinking about your local newspaper.

Here’s the problem: my local paper is covering things that aren’t that relevant to me—and when it is relevant, it’s not covered exactly the way I want it covered.

What if we flipped the editorial function on its head? What if we employed the Groupon model or crowdsourcing intent from a community?

Specifically, I think it could work like this:

  • Allow readers to post story ideas
  • Readers could then vote on their favoriate ones.
  • Once a critical mass was achieved, the story would be assigned to a reporter.
Of course, the initial posting of the idea could include detail to provide a clear idea of what the story should achieve.
Isn’t this a way for a paper to always remain relevant to its readership? More importantly, isn’t this a way for a community to get what it wants?
I think it’s worth at least a pilot.
When I worked at a local newspaper, I served on the community relations board. It was a way for us to ensure we were serving the community better. This idea is soooo much better. It’s real-time, it’s democratic, and it’s transparent.
So, DailyLocal.com, what do you think?

Does Anybody Use the Word “Viral” Anymore?

It used to be that ‘going viral’ meant that people forwarded the s$#t out of some meme.

Today, you don’t really hear the word “viral”—”virality” yes, but more on that in a minute.

Here’s why:

In the olden days—4 years ago!—”viral” meant that a meme spread throughout networks as a result of many people working fairly hard/investing real quantities of time—most likely that meant people spammed their address book or fired off 10s or 100s of individual emails. It meant that the meme had overcome a relatively significant impediment to achieve ubiquity or success.

But today that doesn’t apply. Today, meme’s traverse an ecosystem that is fundamentally built to facilitate the success of viruses.

So today we use ‘virality’ to describe the relative success or value of a meme’s growth towards ubiquity—because everything is viral, isn’t it?

And “virality” isn’t even listed in Dictionary.com!

Share the Meme Not the App

Share the Meme Not the App

I have Dictionary.com’s iPhone app, and I receive their Word of the Day. Today I actually looked at it and it was a gem:

Bandersnatch: An imaginary wild animal of fierce disposition.

There’s something about this words that seems so cool and useful that I’m definitely gonna use it. Ok, that makes me a little strange… My instinct, though, was to share it on Facebook–where my geeky linguaphile friends would surely drool over my discovery.

Alas, the only sharing on the Dictionary.com iPhone app was for the whole app!

Who wants to share a whole app!

People tend to share the smallest parts of our culture—song, photo, text, quote, link, video… Have you ever heard of an app going viral?

And so Dictionary.com could enable the sharing of words because that’s what people do. Marketing strategies might share apps, but people sure don’t.

It’s the meme that counts!

 

Someone Splice Skype’s DNA With Visual Thesaurus For The Ultimate IM UX

Someone Splice Skype’s DNA With Visual Thesaurus For The Ultimate IM UX

So IM was a great tool.

It no longer is.

Why? Primarily because we’ve all adapted to the concept of asynchronous communication, and we’re ready–we expect!– for a better, easier, more intuitive, more effective tool. What do I mean?

The problem:  The Skype UX lays out communication in linear fashion–even though human conversation isn’t! Here’s a little illustration to remind you:

Tell me you haven’t had this IM experience: your typing fast on the initial thread and then someone veers off–so you follow. Then someone comes back to the initial thread before you’ve even finished typing a response to their tangent. Then you press ‘Enter’ on the tangent thread and the IM UX shows the response next to a non-corresponding line. Now your work has exponentially increased. Add another thread and you’re focused entirely on the screen above–double checking previous IMs to ensure your on target. At this point the UI is not making it easier–it’s making it harder. Fail.

The solution

Now, imagine this: a branching IM a la Visual Thesaurus.

What if each comment or line had an imaginary box around it–and that box could be dragged around and anchored anywhere on a screen; and from each node could grow a conversation?

I would pay for that that!