Tag Archives: social media

What I Learned (or Didn’t) @BlogWorld: An Authentically Cynical Review

9 Nov

“Be authentic and passionate.”

“Be an authority for your niche.”

“Listen to your audience.”

“Know your deepest intent.”

“Eat your fears…they will sustain you.”

Did I accidentally miss BlogWorld (LA Convention Center West Hall) and stumble into Tony Robbins’ “Unleash the Power Within” event (LA Convention Center South Hall)?

During the two days I spent at BlogWorld, these jargon-heavy phrases kept coming up over, and over, and over, and over. As a three-day expo in Los Angeles dedicated to promoting all things new media, blogging, social media and digital innovation, needless to say I was underwhelmed.

These nuggets of wisdom represent the newest, cutting-edge information that blogging and new media thought leaders have to offer? When did blogging turn into a self-help-athon? And when did blogging also become about reiterating what everyone else said as if it’s gospel?

Maybe I’m not listening, or maybe I’m being really cynical. Or both.

It’s not that I disagree with these sentiments–I absolutely agree that authenticity, transparency, and narrow authority are all keys to success in any business venture, especially social media. As someone who actively reads blogs but has no intention of trying to earn a living from one (authenticity at work right here), I wanted to come away from BlogWorld with a wealth of new information that I could incorporate into building social media strategies for brands. I certainly got some good insights, but generally felt, well, the information was too general and top line.
Here are the highlights (or not) of my experience:

THE GOOD

As opposed to asking “What’s the best time to post a press release,” for example, the better question is “does the date/time of posting a press release matter?” Tom then walked through statistics that showed how 1) it doesn’t matter what time you post, just as long as you do and 2) the time/date question is industry and brand specific – hence “do your own work.” You should know best when and where your readers are accessing your content. When companies post content that suggests best times and places to post, they are relying on what works for them.

In Tom’s words, “data generated for the purposes of content creation is inherently incurious.” The best, most helpful phrase of the conference. Thanks Tom!

  • Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere address: The blogging curation giant revealed some great new data here, including:
    • The #1 influencer for bloggers is other bloggers: influencers influence influencers.
    • LinkedIn is the 3rd largest social media traffic driver.
    • Sixty-one percent of bloggers are hobbyists, and seventy percent of bloggers blog to share their expertise and experiences with others.

However, the woman read the slides verbatim. Not exactly engaging. I could get the same info if Technorati posted the deck on SlideShare.

  • Have Bloggers Replaced Radio Programmers as Curators of Pop Music Culture?: I attended this music panel out of sheer interest as a music fan. The bloggers’ attitude and approach were refreshing–as opposed to overarching statements about passion and authenticity, they shared specific ways on how they find music, the pros and cons of creating music in a new media world, and attracting audiences to their niche music blogs. Straightforward without the fluff. Thanks guys. (Are there any female music bloggers out there, BTW?)

THE NOT-AS-GOOD-AS-I’D-HOPED

  • Chris Brogan & Guy Kawasaki’s panel on Google+: Authenticity FAIL. This felt like a giant infomercial paid for by Google. I truly admire these guys and thought I would leave with pages of notes on Google+ best practices. Granted, I arrived late, so perhaps they covered this in the opening. Or, instead of giving away the goods in the session, perhaps they just want us to buy their book on Google+.
MY TAKEAWAYS & RECOMMENDATIONS
  • Let’s move beyond the obvious and lose the jargon, people! If I hear about “opening the kimono,” “engage your audience with passion and authenticity,” “leverage your online relationships to build offline strategy” or whatever, I’m going to lose it. Can we think of any more creative ways to communicate how social media works? I’d love to go to a panel where these words are used MINIMALLY or NEVER.
  • Leverage the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced tracks more specifically. There was no consistency or explanation by the event organizers as to what constitutes experience level. Perhaps directing attendees according to experience could eliminate the bouncing between sessions (like I did).
  • The more specific, the better. Sessions should include specific case studies that demonstrate the general takeaways.
Thanks for letting me vent.

#flightvsbike: Social Media Takes on JetBlue for Carmageddon

19 Jul

In case you were hiding under a rock over the last several weeks, July 16-17 was Carmageddon weekend in Los Angeles. Ten miles of the 405 freeway, from the 10 to the 101, were to be shut down for 53 consecutive hours while contractors demolished and rebuilt the Mullholland Bridge. Thankfully the contractors completed the project 17 hours in advance — go contractors!

As a fun publicity campaign, JetBlue–known for online innovations–offered a limited number $4 flights, including taxes and fees, from Burbank to Long Beach over the weekend. The idea of taking a 15 minute flight across town is a customary LA daydream.

On Thursday before the pending doomed weekend, Slate journalist Tom Vanderbilt casually asked on Twitter:

This tweet sparked a fast and furious revolution amongst cyclists and Vanderbilt, who together concocted a challenge: Wolfpack Hustle, a non-professional yet avid group of cyclists, would race two friends from the same Hollywood residence to Long Beach on Saturday, starting at 10:55 am. The cyclists had to adhere to all rules of the road–no offroading, running lights, or knocking over pedestrians–while the two friends would go to the Burbank airport and fly JetBlue to Long Beach. Whoever reached the Long Beach aquarium first wins.

SPOILER ALERT: The cyclists won. By a lot. They already reached Long Beach before the JetBlue flight took off. There are great details of the contest on Slate and the cyclists highlighted key minute-by-minute tweets on Storify and LA Streets Blog.

Besides this being a totally fun exercise, #flightvsbike, which became a trending Twitter topic, is a great example of how individuals can use social media to engage directly with mega brands. From a brand’s perspective, #flightvsbike shows how publicity campaigns create and extend conversations via social media. I’m sure JetBlue spent a good deal of money on this marketing campaign, not even including the extra flight costs. But did JetBlue really care if — or honestly think they could — beat the cyclists? Probably not. Regardless, the friendly contest gave JetBlue’s campaign extra press coverage, surely adding to their social media ROI.

Personally, I think every day in LA is Carmageddon. According my unscientific survey of Google Maps, as well as screenshots that friends are posting of the freeways on Facebook, it seemed like traffic over Carmaggedon weekend was at an all time low.

Congrats to @wolfpackhustle! Thanks for making Carmaggedon fun to watch on Twitter!

Sex through Social Media – Yay or Nay?

25 Jan

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I read about two new studies examining how social media — particularly Facebook — impacts sex and relationships.

On the one hand, a survey says that social networking leads to sex faster. Reuters reports that nearly four out of five women and three out of five men claim that texting, Facebook and other social networking tools make couples jump into bed faster.

Faster communication = faster possibilities for sex. Seems reasonable.

But another survey shows that Facebook destroys marriages. Over 80 percent of US divorce lawyers cite social media evidence in divorce cases as reasons for ending marriages, with one in five lawyers specifically pointing to Facebook.

Public communication = faster possibilities for private demise. Also seems reasonable.

Perhaps these surveys point to the fact that it’s good for some things to stay private. Sure, having (or changing) a relationship status on Facebook has become common. But is it necessary — or even positive — to display private or intimate details for the world to see? Personally, if I need to talk about relationship issues, the people in my life who I trust will know about it. But that’s it.

Has anyone had an interesting relationship story that played out over Facebook or social media?

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10 Things I Like About the Internet: April 14th, 2010 Edition

14 Apr

Here we go again. Week 3 of my Top 10 List. As always, lots happening online, particularly on Twitter (check out #9).

1. This Week’s Viral Video: Sarah Palin Network. Tina Fey reprises her classic role as Sarah Palin in this week’s SNL.

2. Location, Location, Location: CauseWorld

I know the net is buzzing with changes from Foursquare, though I wanted to give a shout out to a new check-in based location service that does good for the world. CauseWorld, an app for the iPhone and Android, allows you to check in and get “karma points” to donate towards a variety of charitable causes. According to ReadWriteWeb, the mission of CauseWorld’s parent company Shopkick is to bring virtual and physical shopping worlds together. In addition to checking in, CauseWorld allows users to scan products for extra karma points. What a great amalgamation of brand marketing, local communities, social media and philanthropy.

3. There’s an App for That: A Site for Apps

I love my Droid, and now I love the user-friendly site 101 Best Android Apps that lets me search the 101 most popular apps by time frame (today, yesterday, this week, this month, and all time) and by subject matter (business, education, entertainment, etc). As opposed to lists that are published weekly by Gizmodo, Mashable, Techmeme, etc (which are incredibly helpful), this is a dynamic site that changes daily.

4. Exploring Online Communities: Lostpedia

This is neither a new site nor one that implements any novel technology, but I have to give a shout out to Lostpedia, the user/fan-generated wiki for LOST, one of my all-time favorite television shows. The site is an incredibly comprehensive encyclopedia of all things LOST, from detailed episode, character and actor synopses to literary references, trivia and mythology questions.  I recently added my own two-cents for a new LOST episode:

“Penny asks Desmond to meet her at a coffee shop on Melrose and Sweetzer in Los Angeles. There is no coffee shop on Melrose and Sweetzer. However, there is an antique shop called ‘Thanks for the Memories.'”

I’m not a World of Warcraft gal, but the WoWWiki is also a fabulous community resource.

5. A Stumble from StumbleUpon: Mark and Angel Hack Life

I found this helpful, informative and fun blog written by a married couple who write lists about practical tips for practical living. While these are their personal opinions, I like the authenticity and personality of their blogging voice. I was particularly drawn to their blog because of this post. I’ve only read 1/3 of these…better get cracking.

6. Apple News: iAds

Also known as “Mobile Ads with Emotion,” Apple this week announced iAd, its new mobile advertising platform, part of the new iPhone OS 4.0. The platform will be built directly into the iPhone OS interface. Steve Jobs claims that iAd differs from Google Ads in that the ads will keep users within an app, rather than redirecting users to a browser window. TechCrunch provided detailed play-by-play from Jobs’ iAd demo, and emphasized that both ad agencies and app developers will be able to create interactive ads for Apple.

7. My Geek Factor: Penn Olson Infographics

Following my love for all thing beautiful, informative and cool, below are some relevant infographics from digital marketing consultant Penn Olson about various aspects of social media. These are just a handful of neat statistics — on Google Facts and Figures and Social Media Demographics — this site provides in graphic form:

8. Online Legal News: The FCC Loses Ruling on “Net Neutrality”

A federal appeals court denounced efforts by the FCC to create standardized rules for the Internet, claiming that the agency cannot require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic. Edward Wyatt writes in the New York Times that “the decision will allow Internet service companies to block or slow specific sites and charge video sites like YouTube to deliver content faster to users.” The court ruling, which came after Comcast asserted that it had the right to slow cable customers’ use of BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer services to view free streaming of shows and channels normally relegated to paid subscribers. The principle of “net neutrality,” in which Internet providers must provide the same speed to everyone who wishes to access whatever websites users wish to see, is central to maintaining an open Internet. Austin Schlick, General Counsel of the FCC, said the ruling would affect it’s plan, announced in March, to connect 100 million homes to broadband by 2020. TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb and Big Think provide good commentary on the court’s ruling from a tech industry perspective, highlighting a general consensus that the laws regarding telecommunications need to be updated to reflect the current state of the digital age.

9. Getting Excited For…The Future of Twitter

Lots of big announcements about the future of Twitter on the heels of Chirp, the Twitter developer conference in San Francisco. Besides declaring some major milestones, there’s already drama brewing between Twitter and developers. Twitter’s impressive growth indicates that social media is not only growing more powerful technologically, but also as a business tool and cultural phenomenon:

  • Twitter Statistics from Chirp: Twitter has over 105 million registered users, receives 180 million unique visitors per month, 75% of Twitter traffic comes from third-party apps, and there are 600 million search queries on Twitter per day.
  • Promoted Tweets: Twitter’s much-anticipated program for making money off advertising, Promoted Tweets will show up when Twitter users search for keywords that advertisers have bought to link to their ads. Although Twitter argues that this program differs from ads, Twitter users seem to be confused about the value and nature of promoted tweets. What do you think — are promoted tweets equivalent to spam?
  • Library of Congress To Preserve Twitter: In what I personally think is a very cool move to that validates new media as important cultural literature, the Library of Congress has announced that it will digitally preserve ever public tweet since the site launched in March 2006.
  • Twitter Acquires Atebits: In its third major acquisition, Twitter acquired Atebits, the start-up that develops Tweetie apps for Mac and iPhones.
  • TweetUp: A new venture that aims to make money by allowing Twitter users to bid on keywords to give their posts top ranking. The service will organize posts according to popularity as measured by how often readers retweet and click on links contained in the posts.
  • Points of Interest: Twitter’s new feature that will use geo-tagging to identify physical places. The feature will show a map and a stream of Twitter activity nearby: a real-time view of what’s happening at a particular place at a particular time.

10. Just For Fun: Create Your Own Google SearchStories

I absolutely loved Google’s SearchStory ad that aired during the Super Bowl. Now, YouTube has a channel where you can create your own Search Story. Can’t wait to play around with this!

The New Dork

9 Mar

For all of us at APOC who think that social media is the coolest thing ever…this video is for us. What do you think? Check out Mashable’s page for comments.