danah boyd deserves better

Web 2.0 expo is in full swing right now in New York, and so are the idiots that can make social media and Twitter a train wreck.  I’ve been dialed in pretty much this whole week and I wasn’t really going to blog about it until I read this from danah boyd on her blog.

Unfortunately, my presentation at Web2.0 Expo sucked. The physical setup was hard and there was a live stream behind me. I knew something was wrong because folks started laughing in the audience. Unable to see anything (the audience, the stream), I found myself closing down. And so I collapsed and read the whole thing, feeling mega low on energy and barely delivering my points. Le sigh. I feel like I failed the audience so, if you were in the audience, I’m sorry. But hopefully you’ll get more out of reading the presentation than I got out of giving it.

 

Are you kidding me? danah thinks it’s her fault? What happened was there was a live “unfiltered” Twitter feed streaming behind her as she was talking, with bullshit snark flowing down the screen. Just a solid flow of criticism. Was she at her best? Maybe not, she was nervous, you could tell, but the people in the audience were watching the stream and not paying attention to her. Huge fail. Not sure who I’m more angry at, the folks controlling the screen over on the right side or the Twitter hacks. If you’re not going to cut danah some slack, then I sure as hell can’t let the folks at Web 2.0 expo off the hook.

I will say it again as I’ve said it before, this person is doing more in the areas of social network research herself, than armies could do. She’s smart. She get’s it and she deserves better than what she got.

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Seize this moment to make a difference.

I wrote something down 2 weeks ago. Gary Vaynerchuck gave a keynote at web 2.0 expo in NYC and mentioned it and it’s still resonating with me. Ari Herzog, whos blog posts I’m enjoying more and more, blogged about it last week. And today, on September 29th 2008 it makes as much sense to me now than anything I’ve heard over the last few days let alone weeks and months. What is it? it’s this:

Legacy is greater than currency.”

I wish I could have thought of that. I know some of you are saying this right now-“Dude, do you have any idea of the financial straits I’m in?” Trust me, there are very few people right now who are not hurting, I get that. But the point of me letting you in on Gary’s point is this.

Times like these, lend themselves to people who can help others. Times like these allow people to really share their knowledge with those who can benefit the most from it.  For example, If you’re on the tech, or marketing side of the house, do you have any idea how much or how valuable the things you do or can do, are needed right now? The things, the actions, that you leave behind in your life will be greater than the money you made and the money you’ve accumulated. Your legacy, your footprint is more important.

Your legacy right now can be defined by what you do in the next 12-24 months. If you start today to define it. You can either complain or bemoan the current state of affairs or you can try and do something that can make a difference in your life which can inherently make a difference in others. It’s up to you. Are you going to take? Or are you going to give? It doesn’t have to be a lot. But reach out to someone and help them out. They really need it right now.

Maybe we need a national, “Reach out and affect someone’s life day?”

The social media echo is viral

David Parmet recently wrote a post that should be required reading for all of us in the social media space, for all of us on the outside looking in and for those of us who want to pretend that we are playing in the space. You see, David wants us to set our sights a bit higher.

He cites Shel Israel’s post about social media becoming a vast wasteland which I won’t go as far to say as being the case, but I can see why he said it. David also mentions Tim O’Reilly’s key note at Web 2.0 expo NYC which I attended, in which O’Reilly muses “And what are the best and the brightest working on?” displaying a slide of the Facebook app SuperPoke, which invites you to, “throw sheep” at your friends. Essentially asking, is this what we have been reduced to?

The point being it’s time for more, we need to stretch our collective muscles amongst the group. I have to agree with David that seeing another “How to with Twitter or another “6 steps to conquer your fear of Friendfeed”, or whatever, is not going to do us any good. Especially when we are essentially talking amongst ourselves. I mean that in the sense that the readers of our blogs, are in general, industry types.

Which essentially means that the social media echo comes right back at us. But then it is spread by other N00bs who want in on the game and thus spread the same thing that we already have heard and already have come to learn. And it comes back to us. We’re seeing a push of info that is the “same-ole, same-ole”. Nothing new, just a push, that is spread virally.

 

So let me ask you.

  • Do you want to repeat what someone else says?
  • Do you have any original thoughts?
  • If you hear someone else talking about the same thing, do you feel the urge to repeat it verbatim?
  • Isn’t it sometimes better to look at something in a completely different way?
  • Are you so boring that you don’t care about formulating your own opinions and thoughts?

Don’t be a me too person. There is way too much under the social media hood here. We need leaders not followers.

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.

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.