Archive for September, 2008



On your radar: 6 People from Web 2.0 expo NYC.

I’ve now had a few days since I left New York and the Web 2.0 expo, to think. My last post was a quick shot at the highlites, and this post will focus on the specifics of what I thought were memorable moments and people. Keep in mind that I was focused more on the media and marketing tracks of the expo.

Jonah Peretti

One of the funnier and more informative sessions belonged to Jonah Peretti. Peretti co-founded  The HuffingtonPost. During Peretti’s session he cited some of his viral media experiments including the Nike sweatshop email, which was hilarious, as well as BlackPeopleLoveUs and the New York City Rejection Line. According to Peretti, all of these projects started small but spread through word-of-mouth to millions, illustrating the practical application of 6-degrees of separation and tipping points, though the tipping point was not the end game. To sum it up, you should add, test, tweak and optimize.

Words to live by in more than just this setting I think. Don’t you?

Brian Solis

One of the sessions that I thought would deliver more just based on the quality of his blog and other writings was from Brian Solis. For some reason, and there can always be some that can prevent someone from knocking the ball out of the ballpark all the time, this one did not deliver. Though it did provide some nuggets, it mostly was Brian reading slides. I’m going to give Brian a free pass this time though, because his blog “over-delivers”. With that being said, I still suggest that everyone take the time to read and then add Brian’s blog to their reader list.

Avanish Kaushik

If you are into web analytics, as I am, and you don’t know who Avanish Kaushik is, then I would suggest you check out his blog, Occam’s Razor. His session was informative, funny, entertaining and passionate, and it was about fricken web analytics.  With that being said, he topped off his session by giving away his book, Web Analytics-An hour a day. He even autographed it too, if you wanted to wait! Thanks Avanish!

 

Michael Lazerow

Michael Lazerow is the CEO of company called Buddy Media and he delivered probably one of the more intriguing and informative sessions on Why Brand Advertisers Will Be the Biggest Beneficiaries of Social Media and How You Can Participate. He started slow and I was thinking, “uh-oh” here comes more of the same.  I had sat in on a few other sessions in which it was pointless to take notes since the speakers were re-hashing what we read and write every day. But Lazerow didn’t disappoint. He provided case studies and metrics to validate how brands can essentially use a company such as his (which he did not pimp) to promote and leverage a brand or product using social media.

While search dominated the last 5 years of advertising,  Lazerow is dead on when he says that social will emerge as the leading way for major brands to reach and engage consumers. As such, the social media application is both the new ad unit and the new media property all in one. I was very impressed.

Stephan Spencer

Stephan Spencer had a session titled, Best-kept Secrets to Search Engine Optimization Success: the Art and the Science, and to a certain degree it was. Throughout his talk he peppered the audience with the question, “How many of you knew this”? To which there were very few hands being raised, which in essence validated the whole theme of this session. He provided not only real world examples and strategies, but also a follow up email of content and links that certainly speak to the space of SEO. If you would like the email forwarded to you, let me know. I’m sure he would not mind.

David Armano

David Armano’s session was titled Micro-Interactions: How Brands Can Influence Consumer Behavior in a 2.0 World. I was fairly familiar with this since I am a big reader of David’s blog and his thoughts on micro-interactions. David focuses on new thinking in the web 2.0 world and his session did just that. Unlike some of the other echo sessions that prevailed at Web 2.0, David focuses on the little things that matter. To quote David:

We live in a world where the little things really do matter. Each encounter no matter how brief is a micro-interaction that makes a deposit or withdrawal from our rational and emotional subconscious. The sum of these interactions and encounters adds up to how we feel about a particular product, brand, or service. Little things. Feelings. They influence our everyday behaviors more than we realize.

You can access a lot of these presentation Decks at the  Web 2.0 expo site, but it won’t be the same without the audio. Overall, I’d like to see a little less echo going forward with these conferences, but I don’t think that can be avoidable. With the above people I have mentioned, they have stuck to what they know, and what they know works and they have run with it. For that, I’m thankfull. It was, in the end, a good gig that some should plan on attending.

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Web 2.0 Expo NYC Wrap Up

Ok so its been quite a week. In short order I went to New York, and attended the Web 2.0 Expo. I wanted to blog every day about what sessions I attended but there was always something preventing me from doing that. So the take below will be the high highlites and then I’ll follow that up with subsequent posts on some of the more worthy sessions.

So why couldn’t I throw out a dispatch daily? Either it was the back to back to back sessions that were for me personally,  or so I thought, all relevant; or it was the beer infuzed booth crawl that was a must. (more on that later) Or it was the keynotes which I tried to pay attention to, and take notes of in the dark; or it was recruiters calling me. I’m not sure why it works like this where all of a sudden in the middle of a “show” the karmic gods feel they must bestow more karma on you when you least expect it, but thats what happens.

Try thinking about what your next moves should be with your life and your family when you’re trying to soak in what’s happening around you at a conference. Mental multi-tasking- i was not really into. I think it was at this point that my eye would not stop twitching.

So anyway back to the gig. I thought that the highlites from my perspective were geared more towards the media and marketing tracks. That’s the space I swim in and know best, so obviously my summation of the show is going to be different then the person who attended the show for the design and UX tracks, but…

With that being said though, One of the ironies of the show was that i thought that the emphasis on the conversation was not emphasized enough. To a degree isn’t that the essence of web 2.0? A technology that allows us to collaborate and share and communicate in ways that are more seamless and transparent and with lower barriers of entry?

The de-emphasization of the conversation?

Case in point. Up on the expo floor there were these little pod like rooms where the Web2Open sessions were going on. A place where the attendees can “create the conversation”.  Which was a cool idea. They almost got it right because that’s what a lot of people wanted. Except that they were quite a ways away from where the sessions were taking place. And they were taking place to a certain degree while the sessions were in play downstairs. And on top of that, it was loud in the expo area.

Meanwhile, downstairs outside the session area, there were dozens of these 6 seat tables to sit and charge and blog and eat. Very quiet area for the most part with some mild chatter; but people were mostly doing there thing, solo.  My thought is that there has to be a better way to draw the attendees out. I know and have to believe they want to talk and exchange and share, but we need to give them a better forum or platform to do that in the future. We, they want to share and collaborate. I know it.

I also think that we need to do a better job of trying to tie in the intense micro-blogging going on while these sessions are in place. Yes there was a backchannel and I know that that can border on insanity and you may get some pretty wild comments but perhaps maybe a live chat function that ties in either the audience or people unable to attend. All visible live. Just a thought. Better yet, a microblogging room where all of the entries are posted realtime on the screen.

Also while I’m at it 5 minute  Q & A ‘s at the end of some of these sessions isn’t enough. Don’t you think? I think some might appreciate more time to pick the brains of some of these thought leaders. Perhaps more panel discussions? If you were at the web 2.0 expo what did you think? Send me the links to your recaps.

Next up, who hit it out of the park and who didn’t, and why.

Semantics in social media

So today isn’t starting off like I want it to be. I had to enagage in defending the childish difference of how someone responded to me. Email or blog comment..wtf? Does it matter? Which made me think about semantics in social media?

Semantics is the meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc.: i.e. Let’s not argue about semantics.

Isn’t social media at it’s core, about conversations and communicating?  Does it matter how we communicate? or the vehicle used to converse? I’m sure we could  all rattle off about a  half dozen different ways of communicating online.  The bottom line is, “there was communication”. But does the message change, gain, lose meaning, or become altered based on the delivery method? For example:

I called you on the phone to say hi.

I texted you via cell phone to say hi.

I emailed you to say hi.

I tweeted you to say hi.

I did a blog post in which I said hi.

I friended you on Facebook so I could say hi.

I posted on your Myspace page to say hi.

I sent you a pic that says hi.

I created a video on Youtube that says hi.

I commented on your blog to say hi.

Does the medium matter? Sure it does, in regards to delivery. Is the message the same?  Sure is. In every case. Can the message be construed any differently based on the medium? Depends on how many different ways someone can construe what “hi” might mean. I use this simplistic example for obvious reasons. And yes I understand that you cannot hear tonality or inflection when someone is writing something but my point is the same.

I can see it now…

“What did he mean when he texted me to say hi?” Was he pissed? Was he happy? Did he really mean it?  I mean it was a text. Now if he would have emailed me, thats totally different. Isn’t it? or Is it?

When it comes to social media, lets not argue about semantics.

*For the next few days I’ll be at the Web 2.0 expo in New York, hit me up while I’m there and we can chat about this.

 

 

 

The dark side of communities

Much has been written about the positive aspect of communities and what they can do to enrich and enliven customer experiences. Jeremiah Owyang has written extensively about the good and the bad in communities. Specifically, using “the bozo feature” in trying to limit bad apples in communities.  Elsewhere,  Jake Mckee blogs about and knows a little about communites and what it takes for them to run smoothly.

But what happens sometimes is that the inmates can run the asylum. I actually read a comment on Jeremiah’s post that said that communities can be self policing. Branded communites or corporate communites CAN NOT police themselves. They have to have moderators and managers. Why you ask? Well let me share with you an open letter I had received a while back from one of my more popular members who I had to ban because of amongst other things, he was scarring people.

To Marc:

I never threatened anyone on the site, I merely told that person that I would hand deliver ALL of their posts to their home!  THIS IS MY PAGE!  You DO NOT come here and malign me…..you had better wake up and look around.  I am not a person you want to make mad. Maybe your bosses need to see some of the posts you have written to me??? You don’t own this site. We do. I do.

Maybe they need to know just how you ban people from a site for specific reasons, but continue to let two people CONTINUE to break the rules?? Maybe you should look at (Name Withheld) ADVERTISING on the site—clearly against the rules!!  Maybe you should see someone about “PULLING YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!!!!!!!

And for anyone else who reads this, Marc  works for (supplies company name, adrdess, and phone number) They make a good product, they just have lousy employees!!!!!!!

Also, if you would like to contact Marc with suggestions on just HOW to recover his head from his ass, then, by all means, try these…………..(supplies ALL of my contact information, including home address)         

I am sure that he would LOVE to hear from you———ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!  Delete that, Marc and kiss my ass! You don’t want to mess with me. You have been warned.

So this letter, which he posted on his blog and in the forum came after I had essentially told him that he could no longer be a member of the community.  He was able to post under another name and thus everyone would have read this had I allowed for it, or had I not been moderating the site. As it was, it stayed up on his blog for quite awhile.

 

So what would you have done? Would you have been scarred or felt threatened? The good in communities certainly outweighs the bad, but I feel for all the community managers out there who have to deal with this type of personality a lot more than you might think. People need to understand that  online communities, just like in real life, have good people and bad people. The more that users realize that it’s not the wild wild west in these settings, the better off we will all be.

Is the Forrester Groundswell biased?

I’ve been looking at the finalists submissions for the Forrester Groundswell Awards and I’m wondering if choosing the winning entries based on proof of business value might be looking at the value proposition the wrong way. I’ve blogged about and complained about how social media sites and networks need to have a better way to monetize what they’re doing, and lets face it we all want to make money.

But, what if I’m completely seeing this the wrong way? What if the value of a social network isn’t in the amount of money it’s generating, but it’s instead about the quality of the community and the value it brings to each and every member of that community? And THAT is the true essence?

I know this completely smacks in the face of why we go to work everyday. And it also reeks of the “if you build it they will come” mindset or is that blindset? but…. Should Forrester be focusing on a bigger “world view” of social media and social networks instead of proof of business value?

I also see that Forrester has segmented out the finalists  entries into a few distinct categories. Are these too broad? Or too narrow? Or too generalized?

Listening

Talking

Energizing

Supporting

Embracing

Managing

Social Impact

What would you add to this list that might make it more complete? Forrester says that they got over 150 submissions, 151 to be exact, and they have whittled it down to 128What made the other 22 unworthy? I know, I know, lack of proof of business value. I just need to look at what justifies a win in social media and social networks. It may go back to my what’s more important question: ROI or Engagement. So what is it?

*Note Forrester has since called me to clarify that no one has been eliminated or whittled down, and that ALL entries will be judged on their proof of business value. Apparently there was an issue with one of the pages. I stand corrected.

TechCrunch50, Forrester and 8 other sites that require your attention

You know, it’s amazing how life just throws you softballs, curveballs, fastballs, whiffleballs and screwballs. It’s all in how you take the pitch. Do you hit it? Or wait for your pitch?  With that being said, lets look at some sites and posts that might require your attention over the weekend.

The TechCrunch50 just concluded and there were a couple of entries that really stood out to me. I thought that Steve Spalding brought up some good points in his Techcrunch50 recap in regards to why some of the entries may or may not make it and I have to agree with him on icharts Icharts has a crappy tagline but a great premise. Make better charts, make them seo friendly and searchable and interactive. Things that I would love to do for some of the lame charts I create. Maybe they’d kick me a free trial so I can review it?

I’d highly recommend fitbit too. since we’re all obsessed with losing weight, gaining muscle etc etc. Fitbit is a device and website that makes you aware of how active you are and what you eat. Go figure, a site and product with a way to make actual money!

My other favorite was Goodguide, it has a great idea and is so dead on right now. I think it’s only hurdle might be widespread adoption.  Goodguide provides free and easy access to the world’s largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental and social impacts of products and companies.

Of course be sure to check out this years winner Yammer, which is essentially enterprise level Twitter. Yammer had a ton of action as soon as it was released publicly. They too have a business model as well, but it can be used freely.

Be sure to read Carter Lusher’s post When hype can go overboard and hurt credibility  he mentions some Analyst ‘hype-alert’ verbiage  to be on the look out for.

Joseph Jaffe adds more than just his 2 cents on his blog post about Why the term “Agency of the Future” is an oxymoron (you can choose if you’re the ox or moron) Its a definite keeper.

When you get a chance, test drive this site SpinVox and tell me what you think.

I’ve been participating remotely to events all week and have to say that the access to all them has been awsome they are: IzeafestThe Techcrunch50,  and the T3PR confeerence to a certain degree. I think it’s important that though you may not be able to be there physically, you can still interact via, Twitter, Summize and the live web casts. I’d highly suggest you check your calendars.

Lastly,  Forrester, has pushed out it’s submissions for Groundswell awards, check out some of the companies up for awards, it might help you hone in on your OWN social media strategy. Imitation is the best form of flattery!

Does social media force us to be interesting?

First off, I have to tell you about a very funny post about The 10 commandments of Facebook that you should read.

Next I was reading another great post on Social Media Today by John Bell about whether Twitter was breeding a lack of authenticity and it pushed me to think about how authentic people are now, or rather how social media has allowed us to be more visible and “out there” and god forbid but I’m going to use a very tired word…”authentic”.

But has the explosion of social networking tools, resources, and outlets, forced some people to try and be interesting? Or forced them to think they have to be more interesting? When they otherwise might not be? Or has it, or does it force us to inflate an average persona into something entirely not us? I think so. I think some people think they have to “be” in order to “be”.

Or… how often is someone forced to be the voice of a corporate brand and asked to be more interesting for the sake of their corporate or personal brand? When in fact…. They otherwise might not be? Or otherwise would choose not to be?

Hey I applaud you for jumping in, but don’t blog or talk, or brag, or bash, or be snarky for the sake of trying to be interesting. We like the real you. We appreciate real people.  It’s why the social net has evolved the way it has. It’s allowed us to learn and share with more people than ever.

 Which begs the next blog post.

Is social media raising the bar of expectation?


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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