Last night, Robert showed his 60″ Sony High Def projection LCD while enjoying a glass of red to Shel our wives and I. Of course, Shel and I used this is a springboard to convince our wives how our lives are somehow incomplete without one. The clarity of the image is just amazing. Interesting to note that Robert has a Polk speaker setup (as do I).
We were watching Mark Cuban’s HDTV channel on Direct TV, Mark’s recently been discussing what should lead, Internet or TV. At one point the AVN footage came up from Vegas, since we were waaay to busy working at Bloghaus, it was interesting to watch from afar. Yes, really interesting. Not to worry, our wives were there to kick, pinch, slap us.
Quite a bit of Robert’s content is being recorded in High Definition, and with IPTV slowly peeking it’s beak out, I know good things will come. I’m predicting a marriage of the Internet and TV into some new type of tool that will have the benefits of all.
Of course, I teased Robert a bit about his post yesterday, I told him he had so many updates he “should have just published a wiki” so everyone could correct him.
I must add that Maryam is a wonderful hostess and cook, excellent salmon and chicken! I told her that her latest post was pretty funny. Shel brought a very nice bottle 2001 Cab over from Silver Oak winery, it was a great wine, had a smoky woodsy taste to it. The interesting thing is, he had stocked up on a few of those bottles before they became popular or expensive. This man knows potential when he sees it. We were also expecting the Citizens but they couldn’t make it, next time for sure.
Maryam, Robert, thanks for being great hosts, Shel, Paula, wonderful wine and brownies. It seems like we all run into each other quite a bit. I’ll be in Miami with Shel in two week at the WeMedia conference, we’re hosting yet another blogger dinner.
(I owe an apology to someone! I was not able to make another event, and I feel pretty bad. Sorry man, I’ll make it up to you next time!)
Update: Funny Conversation
I just ‘casually’ asked my wife:
“Since Robert has an HD, and since we do so much video at PodTech we should probally get one for home. don’t you think?”
“Tell John to get you one”
Dang, I never win, ha!
Lunch 2.0 is about community.
It’s an open house of sorts for startups (and big companies too) to welcome the community that talks, influences, and communicates with each other using the web. It’s a great way to get exposed to new people, ideas, and products.
Meebo the ultimate Instant Messaging company was no exception. Nestled in hip Mountain View (an interesting city with free municipal wifi) on bustling Castro Street, Meebo hosted quite a few folks, catered in Thai food (as well as some ‘Thai pizza’) in their cozy abode.
For the most part, I’ve cut instant messaging out of my life, save for the computer reboots that auto start one of my five IM clients, and the immediate business need. If I were to jump back into IM, I would probaly start with Meebo as it aggregates all clients onto one page –literally.
I ran into friends Juan, Mark Jenn, Joseph Smarr, Noah Kagan, and finally got to meet Jason Calacanis (now hanging with Sequoia that funds meebo) who does a podcast with PodTech, have you heard the Calacanis Cast yet? Jason told me he reads my blog, and liked some of the posts I did on B2B Social media, sweet!
This picture is great, you can see my Asianness is rubbing off on Jason.
This video is of Andreas and Danny of Meebo, two of our hosts. I took that video towards the start of the event, by the time I left at 12:30 it was nearly double the crowd.
Video: Lunch 2.0 at Meebo
Thanks Meebo for being such wonderful hosts, pictures below (tagged “lunch20″).
This is interesting, I received this email today. To protect her identity, I’ve removed any personal info:
If I remember correctly you were the one who first invited me to join LinkedIn, some time in early 2005. Is that correct? I just want to mention that I reaped a benefit from belonging to it, so I thank you. A recruiter contacted me about a full-time position, and I asked how she got me name, and she said from LinkedIn. Well, I actually got that job and started this week! This is a big career move for me. Since I was relatively happy contracting, I was not looking for a job, but now I think this was a good decision.
I was encouraging people to use LinkedIn during the early days, when the first web bubble was collapsing (realizing how important one’s network was) before LinkedIn was popular, I had a list of names and emails at Exodus on my personal website (now retired) in an image so everyone could stay connected. I guess I’ve always liked being a ‘super connector’.
I don’t use LinkedIn as much now, in fact I don’t respond to most requests to accept, why? The folks that I want to find are already easy to connect to via their blogs or other social networks. Identies and profiles are everywhere, not just in LinkedIn.
I told my wife that James Clark and Jason Cormier really made my week, he gets what I’m trying to do and summarizes with this wonderful post:
Jeremiah’s blog is his book, don’t you see?
I’m asked once in a while, “Why don’t you write a book” or “Let’s write a book together”.
I’ve given it some thought, but not much. I’m trying to connect to my audience using my blog and that seems to be working pretty well. Of course, if some publishers want to offer me a sweet deal, I’m open for anything. I also see that there are quite a few books being written around social media, communities, what would make a book standout from the rest? For those that are trying to establish thought leadership in social media, why write a book?
If you can’t tell by now, the focus on my blog is changing, as I hear from clients, I think it’s working and seek to always improve. As always, I’m listening, leave any suggestions about this blog, even if suggestive in, the comments or send me an email.
Update: In the last few weeks, I’ve been pushing out a lot of ‘how to’ content. A lot of this was locked up in my brain, and it’s more appropriate than ever to share it with my clients and the network. Now that I’m a consultant to many companies, I’m unleashing much of my knowledge as long as it doesn’t impact PodTech in a negative way.
I’m very grateful to be able to talk to PodTech clients about social media, so there will never be a shortage of content (keep in mind, I shield any confidential/competitive info). I’m hoping to try to identify the trends that I’m seeing when it comes to awareness, adoption, measurement, and successes.
I’m live blogging right now. I’m sitting at Cnet with over 50 people discussing the future of Mobile technology, identity, security, contextual marketing, and the impacts of social networking at the first Mobile Identity Workshop hosted by Internet Uncle Doc Searls and Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
I sense a lot of annoyance with traditional telcos, there’s quite a bit of sharing, it’s really more of a think tank, that’s why I love unconferences. An unconference is sort of a workshop where the agenda is determined by the participants, and everyone gets a chance to talk and share. Yes, a bottom up conference.
Windley is taking notes and comments on Doc’s stats at the opening of the day:
“Doc started off the day with a list of statistics, noting that there are 800 million cars in the world, 1.2 billion PCs, 1.3 billion Internet connection points, and nearly 3 billion mobile phones. Mobile phones are nearing ubiquity and are intensely personal, so identity is incredibly important.”
There were a few interesting points such as protecting one’s personal information while giving out preferences, sharing with others, deploying traditional media over mobile devices. In one session it was agreed upon that the password will be dead in a few years, and some other type of technology will be able to determine identity.
We also talked about the next generation of mobile users, Gen Y and somewhat X. The term “digital natives” was used to describe this generation. Mobile technology is more advanced in other cultures outside of North America.
Some folks suggest that one’s online persona will be an accurate reflection of their real life persona.
One of the more interesting sessions, we were throwing out ‘dream features’ for the ideal podcasting device, Dave Winer took notes. I suggested, easy to publish, on board real time mixer, ability to create audio ‘conversations’, and ability for multiple people to contribute to the podcast.
I had lunch with two cnet employees. What a cool company to host this event, they even provided lunch.
There were some other interesting conversations about the future of mobile technology, will be become so small that it’s pervasive. eTelepathy I like to call it.
Unconference: The attendees determine the agenda by placing the topics on the board, you can attend any of the tracks you want
Healthy conversations in every track
Our gracious hosts, CNET
Technorati tag = miw2007
Jonathan Carson of Nielsen Buzz Metrics and I just got off phone. We discussed my focus and interest in the Social Media Measurement space as it will be important to corporate marketers.
I love it when top executives reach out to folks in their industry. A year ago, I blogged about Factiva and their CEO ( a blogger during that time) sent me a personal email.
We talked about how many Social Media measurement programs will be customized based upon the objectives of a program, a one-size-fits-all approach is not going to work. I told him how I suspect that marketers will need to achieve these three objectives: 1) Determine what is happening in the conversations out there 2) Measure the impact when they join 3) Be able to analyze data in a variety of ways.
CEOs are starting to reach out to folks that connect with others, both by using the phone, email, and now blogs. In fact, check out this list of CEO blogs that are starting to emerge. Last year, it was just Boeing and Sun.
Thanks Jonathan for the call, looking forward to meeting you soon.
I’m very fortunate to be able to talk to many of the wonderful Corporate Marketers all over Silicon Valley (our client list) and beyond, and business blogging and social media still requires some justification or some ROI to higher ups. Shel Israel is right, much of the blogging will happen at the edges of the company, built up by grassroots efforts. Corporate Marketers tend to figure this out really early, or really late, many often don’t realize that their own employees are already blogging. (and I’ve shown them using Technorati)
Charlene Li has an interesting report that helps to define the ROI of Business blogging, she lists out quite a few variables to measure, but I promise you, that’s only a partial listing. Some additional examples could be reduced support costs, increased hiring opportunities, measurable brand influences, decrease in Marketing Collateral, and the time saved by a blogger that is now able to email the world, rather than small groups.
The dreaded Success/ROI question
Today, one Analyst Relations Marketing manager asked me about the Gartner report that says Blogging is slowing down. My response? Do you have kids? If so, how do they communicate? The next generation doesn’t read the newspaper, the TV is ambient, and they only use email when they have to. Please don’t forget that MySpace and Facebook have blogging features, and that’s just North America. That lead into an interesting discussion, and I think he sees the value. Recently, I heard that Gartner has silenced unsanctioned blogs, which makes sense given they sell intellectual property, are you surprised they would issued such a report? Funny how Charlene and Forrester embrace blogging.
By the way, for most of the clients that I talk to (well they are more sophisticated than that credit union in the mid west) they understand the importance of these tools, rarely do they push back, they just need to understand.
Today I was asked “How to you measure success of Social Media Programs” from a Sr Marcom manager. I told her I have two answers:
1) How do you measure the success of a conversation between your sales rep and a prospect in the early stages of a relationship? How do you measure the success of all your other marketing and branding activities, the formula would be the same. That’s a very silly answer to her question, here’s the practical answer
2) I recommend measuring the success of a Social Media program depending on the objectives, there is no cookie cutter way to measure success, it depends on the goals of the program, whether it be thought leadership, buzz, reaching to customers, managing crises, customer outreaches, etc.
Blogging has yet to normalize, so we’ll continue to have to justify something until ‘publish to all’ is a feature of Microsoft Outlook and other email tools, give it a few years.
(Update: The Normalization of blogging is a phrase I’ve been using quite frequently, I want to credit Blog Business Guru Shel Israel for first imprinting how it will flatten.)
Over the past week, there’s been a caged match about the Social Media Press Release (SMPR). Folks have been fighting both pro and against it as a viable tool for communication that could bridge both the traditional and ‘new’ social media tools for corporations.
Still on the fence about the Social Media Press Release ’till I get more info
For the most part, I stayed out of it, I see some of the faults, but I also see some of the benefits. I don’t have enough information and haven’t seen it deployed successfully to validate if it’s something I would recommend to clients. I’m still wondering if the SMPR is a tool primarily for the press and media
Street fight in the ‘hood
Sometimes the web industry can be a downright dirty mob fight. The first jab started from Stowe, a haymaker from Scoble. The defending team Chris extended a defensive parry blast, and Brian’s sidekick supported the SMPR. Oberkirch throws a haymaker (update: in support of hRelease), Shel slingshots a chicken with lipstick, followed by Jeremy with a flying drop kick, Chris double blocks back, of course, Hugh McCloud grabs his spray cans and paints the alley with yet more graffiti. Things turned into quite the brawl, and you can see the full effect on TechMeme a conversation tracker.
In my opinion, the debate has yet to be resolved, it’s not clear from an industry perspective if we embrace the SMPR as a whole.
Case study: Seagate integrates Social Media into an Announcement
I’ve started to pay more attention to press releases, and how they integrate with Social Media. A few days ago, Seagate (A PodTech client) announced their financials, and they did something interesting. In addition to the regular ways of telling the world via normal announcements, they had podcasting personality John Furrier (my boss) interview the CEO of Seagate and upload quickly on this podcast.
For some time now Seagate has links to Social Media directly in their press release, linking directly to the Seagate Channel on PodTech.net.
This is an interesting for a few reasons:
1) Seagate has integrated social media into the announcement
2) Seagate has integrated social media into the press release.
3) Seagate has not suffered from message decay (one of the primary reasons for the SMPR)
4) Seagate has done this without a formalized Social Media Press Release format or tool
Can Social Media integrate with a Press Release? Do we need a Social Media Press Release?
As Linda Furrier points out in Jeremy’s comments, there is room for both, it will be some type of hybrid. Maybe we do need a SMPR, it’s possible it’s not for the general consumer or community, but for the press.
I’m proud that our Industry openly debates issues
During the debate, I sent an email to those that were deeply involved, at how our industry can debate topics in public, figure out what works and rebuild better and stronger. It’s a collective and global debate in the web industry, and it’s what makes us unique.
Applause for Brian Solis and Chris Heuer
I’d especially like to recognize Brian and Chris for really following Business Blogging best practices. They followed the conversation wherever it went (including a Google Group that I am part of) and defended their stance. They left comments, responded via their blogs, very professionally, they really kept their presence active and I applaud them for standing by for what they believe in and defending it. I wish I was a fly on the wall at the office on Monday, as you know Stow and Chris share office space.
My related thoughts:
I asked the community what they thought of the Social Media Press Release
Edelman release the Social Media Press Release tool ‘Storycrafter’ (I don’t get it)
Social Media Tools enables Storytelling at the Edges
If your website at your company doesn’t have Syndicated feeds on your website, please send this to your web team, I’m here to help.
What you should know about Syndicated Feeds for your Corporate Website
Yesterday, a respected PR professional asked me some excellent questions on Syndication deployment, usage, and tactics. Given her background is not web, this is an excellent question, and I’m glad she asked. This post is intended as a basic primer, and I’m going to avoid any technical discussions. As you hopefully know, I use this blog to answer questions that I get from prospects, customers, friends, and family about the web.
Syndicated feeds such as RSS, and Atom and other feeds are becoming increasingly popular primarily due to the blogging explosion, (Syndicated content is a default feature of nearly every blog) and is starting to take hold on non-blog sites as well.
How it works
Websites, blogs, and other tools offer syndicated feeds. Users can tell it’s available on the page as there are icons on the webpage, and some browsers indicate this (see orange icon on browser). Users can then subscribe to the feed from a feedreader or from their subscribe feeds section on the browser. This let’s the user be alerted when there is information changed on the website, and they can consume the content when they want, and how they want.
Why it matters
I already discussed how Web Marketing is not on two domains only (your website and google search results) the modern web marketer needs to start building the resources for users now that the information power is starting to shift to the users.
Adoption levels for those that are actively using a feedreader, but the adoption trend will continue to grow. Since the next version of Outlook (a staple of many corporations) it will have a built in feedreader in the Inbox. Feedreaders will be mainstream just like email, so please start your planning now.
You want your users to subscribe to your content, this means they are signaling they want more content, and an indicator they are a highly relevant, targeted audience, don’t let them down!
While at Microsoft, tech blogger Robert Scoble proclaimed some very strong remarks for Web Marketers that don’t have RSS on their site.
Modern Web Marketing is giving to users
If you run a website for a company or organization, I would encourage you to deploy an syndicated feed program for your site, it will give the visitors of your site the opportunity to subscribe (only if they want to) to your content so they can consume it when and how they please. In marketing, this is an opt-in model. For this to be effective you’ll want to keep the feeds updated.
The tech industry is often the testbed for adopting new technologies, and there are many companies that have RSS right on their homepage. You can see a prominent RSS icon on the Hitachi Data Systems site, and PodTech has quite a few.
RSS Strategies for your Corporate Content
Take a look at IBM, which has deployed RSS in a very advanced way, they’re providing a feed for what appears to be every product and offering in the entire company. Since different users have different needs, segmenting will provide a higher degree of relevancy and accuracy for the subscriber. It’s even broken down by language.
It makes sense to segment your content and cut it as many ways as possible, look for content that is frequently updated such as press releases, updated collateral, white papers, and even your email newsletter. Since it’s native to podcasts, blogs, and other social media tools, be sure to put all of these on one page, making it easy for users to select from the ‘menu’
Don’t have RSS on your Corporate Site?
It’s not hard to implement this, you can use a free blog (go to wordpress) and create this account. Then you can send the feed into feedburner which will provide you with metrics. Add the RSS icon to your homepage, and then populate the blog with updated content: news, new media, or to be as so bold as to blog. If you’re more technical, you can find an RSS generator which could be a way to deploy everytime your website updates. I’m sure all of the above recommendations are free, time and a bit of know how is all that is needed.
Deploying RSS on your corporate website, (say maybe one feed) should cost no dollars, it should primarily be labor, consult your developers for more details. Many of the tools I’ve suggested have zero dollar cost. Since content is already updated on your site (news, press, new collateral, etc) you don’t have to create new content, just use this as a vehicle for extended reach.
1) Get educated, I’ve provided some links below
2) Get a feedreader, There’s a ton here, I happen to use Google Reader, and have also used Google Homepage, MyYahoo, and Bloglines. My feedreader saves me time.
3) Subscribe to some feeds (start with mine)
4) Create RSS for your own site, test it out
5) Grow: Segment content, find better tools, make it part of your integrated marketing approach
I expect CMS systems in this year to be offering a wide multitude of RSS output features, and even create engines that allow users to create their own customized feed.
I also recommend you consider offering RSS on your site, as there are ‘scraping’ technologies appearing that will take your content off your site and convert into RSS, even if you don’t want it to. This may not be ideal for you, as the content that it’s scraping may not what you want to serve up to your highly relevant audience. A way to subscribe to content will eventually be on every single webpage whether the creator likes it or not.
If you want to know more about RSS, (and want to first impress your IT guys how much you already know) I first recommend you check out Robyn Tippin’s RSS Marketing Blog, there are a ton of great resources, you can check out Wikipedia’s collection. Or see this google results page on RSS Marketing. Last but not least, we should all recognize the most major contributor to RSS is Internet Uncle, Dave Winer, learn up on him at Wikipedia, then see other resources. If anyone else has any other suggestions, please leave a comment.
If you’ve never subscribed to a website before, start by subscribing to mine!
(Note: This is a repost from March 2006 when I evangelized blogs at my previous corporate employer. Early this week, I met quite a few folks at a Sales and marketing conference that will be undergoing this evangelistic process and want to support them via my blog. I wrote these tips while I was in the position, so I’m sure they are still relevant.
This was also on my previous domain, and it makes sense to bring it over here and tag it with ‘Web Strategy’, which I indicate as posts that I’m writing as a resource for the world’s Web Practice leaders.)
Depending on the company DNA, creating and growing a business blogging program may be an easy or a difficult task.
Evangelists have a tough job in front of them as the program requires high and broad corporate approval. Articulating a vision to adopt a two-way, informal communication tool is a challenge when the medium associated with ‘teens’.
Here’s some strategies that I’ve learned, not just from my experience, but from the dozens of other blog evangelists I’ve met at recent conferences as well as online.
1. Read Blogs
Certainly a ‘duhism’ (I met Guy last night, I guess he rubbed off on me) but you really need to know the communication style and medium that you’re attempting to enter. Read both popular blogs, as well as blogs in your industry. Learn how to find them using a variety of tools, listen to the conversation.
2. Start Blogging
Do a trial blog, it doesn’t need to be related to your industry. You need to be a blogger (even if you’re not going to be blogging on behalf of the company) if you’re going to give blog advice. You must understand the interaction, real time conversations, trackbacks, and how the blogosphere works. You don’t have to talk about your own market or products, and if you do it at home, no one will know.
3. Learn from the best
Either start reading, or befriend A-Listers. Yes, they seem intimidating but they’re not. A-Listers are a friendly bunch, and are Blog Evangelists themselves, they want you to become infected with blog-goodness. If you don’t have the time or resources, at least read their blogs and get their books. I know I’m the exception more than the norm as some of my blog friends included Rebecca Blood, Lynann Bradbury, Shel Israel, Robert Scoble, and now my
new old friend Debbie Weil. Reach out to them, read their books, interact with their blogs, invite them to lunch.
4. Don’t accept blog advice from people that are not bloggers
In my experience, I’ve received radically different advice from non-bloggers, than from bloggers. Traditional marketers, advertisers, and larger media companies may have a different strategy from grass roots, guerrilla blogging. Unless they’ve been converted, they may set you on the wrong path –be very, very careful.
5. Get more focused in business blogging
Now that you’ve been reading about blogs, and have been blogging yourself, start immersing in the art of business blogging. Read business blogging books, attend blogging conferences, join blogging user groups, keep on blogging yourself. Learn some PR skills, writing skills, be able to articulate the difference between casual conversations from corporate communications. My journey started at the Blog Business Summit in 2005 and recently have attended the New Communications Forum. I’ve read Cluetrain, Naked Conversations, Weblog Handbook, and The Corporate Blogging Book.
6. Find a champion if your voice is not loud
If you don’t have a loud voice within your organization, find someone that does, ask them to be your voice, let them champion your plans. They are easy to spot, they are already passionate and vocal about customers –align with them.
7. Be able to articulate your vision
Likely, you’ll be asked to give a presentation, raise awareness, or provide a plan. It should at least include the following:
1. The web is important, and is used in most buying cycles, get stats for your market.
2. Customers trust other customer opinion above all others.
3. With blogs, customer opinion is easily published, and with search engines, they are easily found.
4. The conversation will happen regardless if you participate or not.
5. Even if you don’t participate, you must listen to the blogosphere.
6. Blogging is two-way communication, even if you don’t enable comments.
7. If you care about customers, then having an online dialogue will prove it to them.
8. Define the purpose for your blog
Clearly define what your blog’s purpose(s) is. When it comes to using blogs in a corporate situation it can be used in a variety of strategic deployments. I can think of at least one corporate blog that can match with each of the below purposes. Is it to:
1. Delight your customers (you better say yes)
2. Demonstrate corporate openness
3. Express goodwill
4. Thought leadership
5. Mitigate PR damage risks
6. Control the conversation in your market
7. Develop a product with customers in real time
8. Harness a rapid response tool
9. Casually release products and get feedback
10. Word of mouth marketing
11. Amplify a message
12. Competitive positioning tool
13. Delight your customers
9. Plan to measure these purposes, before you start blogging
I realize this is a controversial subject, but let’s get realistic folks, corporate blog evangelists WILL be asked “what’s the value”. Not all of your answers will include the ability to demonstrate numerical proof of improvement. Not every blog (see number 8) will be tied to cost savings or revenue increase. What are you going to measure? Understand how to benchmark against each specific purpose. Unlike other mediums like print, the web makes it easy to measure instances, activity, feeds and blog resonation.
10. Have a vision, Stay the course, don’t give up.
Show passion, demonstrate successes, learn, and grow. I learned that at least during inception that Evangelists may or may not have followers. It’s going to take a few months, even years to get buy-in, marshaling resources where none existed, and then demonstrating success. The rewards are very great –believe in it.
When your customers thank you in your blog and theirs, you’ve know you’ve chosen the right path.
I’ve got quite a few other business blog tips. Many of them I’ve published here, but some I won’t publish for a variety of reasons. Leave a comment if this resonated with you.
Travelistic, a New York based Video Blog group. They were very cool to hang out with, and their CEO even picked up the limo fare to the Blog Business Summit’s party at the Atomic Testing Museum. You’ll also see footage from the BlogHaus at Bellagio. Kris Tate of Zooomr is very articulate, I love hearing his vision. It’s interesting how these great events are captured on video and shared forever.
If you watch carefully, you’ll hear me tell the world what I think of BlogHaus. Here\’s the video below, or if you’re reading this post in a feedreader, you can access it on it’s native site: