Tag Archives: Blogging

“Our Modern Lives: Tune In or Turn Off?”

Today’s post was written by contributing writer Marie Williams.

With Blackberries and iPhones keeping us constantly connected to an online IV stream, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to disconnect. As of late, discussion around the problems of our “always on” lifestyles seem to be popping up everywhere. Last month, the Churchill Club held a panel on the issue of information overload. And, even more alarming, The New York Times recently chronicled the health problems–and two deaths–resulting from the demands of round-the-clock blogging. While not as severe as those tragic cases, I recently came face-to-face with my own info-addiction.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited my sister for a week holiday in Seattle. The whole time I was there, I was either checking my Google reader or Twitter on my phone. I was so plugged in that I somehow managed to catch some major coverage of a client before my team even had a chance to see it. Yeah, I know: I was supposed to be on vacay. Don’t judge me!

The topic came up again a few nights ago when Chris and I met up with Twitter friends Paull Young and Christi Eubanks. After discussing some geeky, social media PR theory, the topic turned to being always plugged in. Neither Paull nor I could ever imagine completely unplugging from the Internet; Paull said (and I agree) that there are just too many important relationships that would be lost in the disconnect.

Chris and Christi weren’t as game to the idea, both affirming that they could see themselves easily wanting to escape their online life. Then, Chris asked a very interesting question: What if the Internet no longer existed? What if some major event happened and the Internet went kaput as a result? It’s almost a little too scary to think about.

No blogs? No Twitter? No Facebook? No way to always know any and all details about your friends? Is such an existence possible?! It must be; we’d all led an Internet-free life before, right?

What would I do if the internet no longer existed? I guess I’d probably just spend time doing more of the offline activities I already love, like reading books, hiking, sharing more one-on-one time with friends, and reconnecting with the earth (yes, I know it’s hokey, but its true). In fact, some of my most memorable times include patches with no phone reception or lack of access to a computer. Go figure.

This past Monday, Stacey Higginbotham over at GigaOm wrote a great post talking about her over-connected life. After discussing the stresses of being continually plugged in, she pointedly says: “I’m choosing to turn off my computer now.”

It’s a difficult balance, but I think Marshall Kirkpatrick from Read/Write Web says it best in a post discussing RSS feeds last week: “I don’t know why people feel obligated to read every item in every feed they’ve subscribed to. Get over that and you’ll already be a far happier person.” The same can be applied to our online existences. We shouldn’t feel obligated to be in the know all the time about everything that’s going on in the cyberworld. Maybe if we just dip in every now and then and we’ll be happier! I know it works for me. 🙂

What about you? Could you or do you ever completely disconnect? How do you prevent information overload?

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[The above photo, “Streeter Seidell, Comedian” by Zach Klein on flickr, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Future of Media, Social Media, Social Networking

“Punk’s Not Dead: Rethinking SXSW Criticism”

Whether Twitter, blogs, or the Main Stream Media, the topic this week has been the SXSW festival. Many in attendance feel the Conference and its presenters just don’t get it. Is it the promoters’ fault, or the audience’s? Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

In this corner, the Returning Heavy Weight Champion: The Organizers

I grew up in Texas and have attended my fair share of SXSWs. As an indie/alterna-kid In junior high and high school, I always followed SXSW. After graduating high school, I moved to Austin for college.

Originally, SXSW started out as something that was a celebration of independence and musical innovation. As it increased in size, it seemed, to me, to lose its edge. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great place to see some of your favorite bands, but if they play there, they’ve probably already made it big in the underground. The real music is out on the streets, in garages and in hole in the wall bars.

The traditional conference model was, at one time, a great way for professionals to get together and talk about what’s going on. The SXSW organizers have assembled a good line-up of industry relevant speakers, but the way people exchange ideas has changed. Social media tools like blogging, Twitter, YouTube and streaming video have changed the way people communicate. That’s why, for me, looking to SXSW for innovation is like reading news from 2006; it’s great if you want to track progress, but it’s not going to tell you what’s on the cutting edge.

For interactive media, the truly innovative strategies and tools are being discussed in the blogosphere and, more rapidly, on Twitter. You don’t need to pay money to go to a conference; you can suck it all up here for free. But for the people who don’t have time to scan feeds or follow 500 Twitter friends, the traditional conference model still works.

And in this corner, we have the Underdog: The Audience

In the music realm, the majority of the attendees are usually suits and big wigs who want to get wasted and feel like they are a part of the underground again; anyone truly punk or indie can’t afford the price tag or goes to the unofficial events. The majority of attendees want to find out the next big thing to market and consume. And you’ll never be able to please anyone that wants instant enlightenment but doesn’t want to fall in the mud. Because they’ve built up this event and these speakers as having all the answers, when the audience sees the man behind the curtain is human, they throw tomatoes in revolt. In terms of social media, they want the tools and secrets, without taking the time required to learn and process the philosophy.

If you are a regular reader of this blog–or follow me or Marie on Twitter–you are probably more like one of the indie-kids. Remember: You don’t go to SXSW to see cutting edge, you go to see bands that have already had hits in the alterna-scene. Be realistic with the event, and you’ll have fun.

Aren’t happy with the conference? Next year plan your own rebel panel. Punk kids organize unofficial shows to protest the commercialism SXSW has become. Also, part of being indie is supporting your local scene. When was the last time you attended or organized a tweet-up, social media breakfast or event? Do you blog, share good links, tweet your ideas?

Who’s to blame? Let us know in the comments. Also, what suggestions do you have for organizers to help them embrace the hard-core fans? What can you do to increase understanding of social media?

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[The above photos, “rock ‘n roll face” by BohPhoto and “Mons Punk” by To Tof on Flickr are used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under New Media, Review, Social Media

“May I Have The Embed Code, Please? Evaluating the Oscars Social Media Strategy”

Can’t get enough Oscar? Neither can we. But, unlike other blogs, we aren’t gonna recap the show or even discuss the stars’ outfits. Stepping out in true geek fashion, today socialTNT looks at the Academy’s social media strategies and offers up tips on how Oscar can stay young.

Best CyberScreen Adaptation

  • Oscar makes his CyberScreen debut in style with his own YouTube channel. We have to admit, we were really impressed! The videos, numbering 69 at time of writing, cover the full gambit of what we have come to expect with video campaigns. The channel includes favorite acceptance speeches and greatest moments in Oscar history.
  • We’re suckers for behind-the-scenes videos, which is probably why our favorites were short video interviews with past winners discussing topics like: What it’s like to be nominated, the voting process, what it’s like to win and how to produce an Oscar montage. Aspiring Future Winners: Avoid the embarrassment of being drowned out by the orchestra, and check out this video on how to prepare an acceptance speech
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ President Sid Ganis did have some videos for a video blog. Check out the last entry chronicling final preparations before the big night.
  • We were a little confused by other cool features like the “Thank You Cam” and Antonio Sabato’s overly produced “Road to The Oscars” journal. They are hosted on the Oscars page, but not found on the YouTube channel. This schizophrenic offshoot requires that you watch a video ad before the clip and it’s not sharable or embeddable. What?!
  • How to make it better? Give nominees webcams and let them video blog the full experience, from nomination to post-awards. Sadly, not everyone can be nominated for the movie world’s top prize, so this could provide a more unfiltered look at the drama and excitement that is the Oscars.
  • Following in the footsteps of the Crunchies, maybe the Oscars could have 10-second video responses filmed by each of the nominees.
  • You know all the technical awards? Well, there are tons of aspiring young make-up artists, sound editors, and costume designers who would love to see behind-the-scenes of the award nominees in action. Those vignettes are shown during the awards presentation, so why not make the full videos available online!

Best Original BlogPlay

  • Yup, the Academy had an official live blogger, Joel Stein.
  • Now, we’re not knocking Joel, but maybe the Academy could have also invited a couple of bloggers from big entertainment or movie blogs to officially live-blog the show from the Kodak theater. Yes, they are probably going to blog it from home, but an official invite is a powerful gesture that could leverage preexisting reader communities’ excitement about the show.
  • Nominees are busy busy, but they could still Twitter 🙂 The academy could also aggregate all discussion on Twitter regarding the academy awards and post it on the home page.
  • What if iJustine could videocast backstage?! HOT!

Best Application in a Social Network

  • You may not have known this, but the Academy has a Facebook widget. According to the Oscar site, the widget has a countdown feature, trivia game, and plays the ad-sponsored videos not found on YouTube.
  • Sadly, Oscar’s widget only has around 1,000 users, with only 32% of them active. This could be due to the oh-so-uninspiring description on the app’s page: “Follow the latest buzz about this year’s Academy Awards! Add the OSCAR Widget today. Click the blue “Add to Page” button in the right column!” *yawn* Also, it looks like it may have just been launched a few weeks ago.
  • Application adoption is really hard to break in to. Some suggestions for Oscar: let users earn points to send virtual gifts, or allow them to create mash-up montages of the nominees or past shows. Also, people love movie-compatibility quizzes.

Next Year’s Nominees?

  • The Academy should try to utilize preexisting communities like Facebook groups to build buzz.
  • Flickr photo stream to compile all the photos tagged with Academy Awards. Also, make the photos already on the site embeddable.
  • Wikis on all the Lifetime Achievement folks we might not know.
  • Tribute pages for the dead Academy members.

All in all, socialTNT was really satisfied with the Academy’s social media efforts. The Academy should be fully applauded for their YouTube efforts. In terms of strategy, our only suggestion would be to start the seeding process a couple weeks–if not months–out. The first videos to be posted were from 5 days before the event. That’s not really enough time to “go viral.”

As Hollywood starts to see online video as a valid and viable revenue stream, and as TV viewership drops, the Oscars will inevitably be faced with doing more CyberScreen adaptation. How did you think the Academy fared? Was there anything you thought could have been added that wasn’t? Tell us in the comments!

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[The above photo, “Oscar” by Alan Light, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Best Practices, Future of Media, Marketing, New Media, Recap, Social Media, Video, Viral video

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Kara Swisher, All Things D, Part 1”

“Kara Swisher is looking at YOU, yes YOU. You know who you are.” by Mark Monteiro from flickrIt’s Thursday afternoon and time for 2008’s first installment of “3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min.”

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. In addition to helping PR peeps pitch these individuals more effectively, the videos are meant to encourage dialog between reporters, PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

This Thursday, socialTNT presents the first of two chats with Kara Swisher, Co-Executive Editor of All Things D. In today’s “3 Q’s in 3 Min” Kara tells us her interpretation of what the Wall Street Journal represents and why she’s never going back to print.

Kara is my video-interview idol. Her spy-cam style impromptu interviews with leading figures in the tech industry, coupled with her sardonic wit, will get you the day’s news and leave you in stitches.

All Things D sprung from the annual D: All Things Digital conference. Hoping to take the same type of forward-thinking commentary from the conference and hard-hitting journalistic integrity from the Wall Street Journal, Kara and colleague Walt Mossberg grabbed “Good Morning Silicon Valley’s” John Paczkowski, and set out to launch an innovative site to chronicle the digital revolution–Web 2.0 style. Although it’s owned by Dow Jones, parent company for the Wall Street Journal, this ain’t you father’s news source. Its perfect mix of text and video blogging make it any social media geek’s dream.

Kara and I met at the Dow Jones’ San Francisco offices, conveniently located across the street from my office. Although not laced with as much intrigue as my trip to the New York Times’ San Francisco Bureau, entering the Dow Jones offices still came with its own difficulties.

First off, the receptionist asked me three times if I was sure I was meeting Kara in the office. Kara doesn’t try to hide the fact that she graces her print counterparts once every six months. In fact, she spends so little time in the office, she wasn’t quite sure where her stuff was. We found it later, boxed up in a cube, identified by a single piece of paper.

Also, the Dow Jones SF offices aren’t quite as comfy as the NYT’s SF Bureau. In fact, with its rows of cubes, it really reminded me of a sweatshop. Like the Stock Exchange floor so oft covered in its princess publication, the Dow Jones office smelled a little like a mixture of stale sweat and white-collar fear. My nose couldn’t quite pinpoint whether it was coming from the sales team worried about declining print subscriptions, or whether it was coming from the editorial staff worried they might not be conservative enough for their new overlord, Rupert Murdoch. Kara isn’t scared of Rupe; she thinks he’ll offer a little more edginess and creativity than previously existed.

Kara’s Boomtown, originally a weekly feature covering Silicon Valley on the front page of the Marketplace section in the print edition of the WSJ, did snarky-for-tech years before ValleyWag–or Weblogs for that matter–existed. She is direct and honest, but in that BFF sort of way. When Kara dishes harsh criticism of Facebook, she is doing it out of love–if not for Facebook, for Silicon Valley and it’s beloved cast.

And Kara’s view of the Valley is quite the ensemble cast. Her subjects become characters with their own personalities. She finds the drama and absurdity in the Valley, and then tells a story without compromising the integrity and reliability promised by the Wall Street Journal brand. All commentary and analysis is based on hard facts, something that many feel the blogosphere is lacking.

Fun Facts About Kara

Check out today’s interview and listen as Kara explains her quest to legitimize blogs and the importance of staying relevant.

Join us next week for part two when Kara teaches TechCrunch how to “Just Say No” to PR pitches, gives PR Profs a few tips on relationship building, and shares some of her videographical secrets. Don’t miss out: Add us to your RSS reader, or sign up for our email.

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[The above photo, “Kara Swisher is looking at YOU, yes YOU. You know who you are.” by Mark Montiero on flickr, used under Creative Commons.]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Citizen Reporter, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview

“I’m a Binge and Purge Blogger, What About You?”

With this week’s announcement of the Blog Council’s formation (more on that on Monday), I thought it would be a great time to ask: Why do you blog?

Do you blog for art’s sake?

Or for Community?

Maybe you are the modern day narcissist?

Are you a spam bot?

Or maybe you have a secret you want to share?

I blog because I consume so much media every day, that I have to vomit it up or my stomach aches.

Why do you blog?

Here’s why an existential French sock vlogs:

Happy Friday, everyone! (It’s been an exciting week, thanks for being a part of it!)

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Filed under Just For Fun

“Blogboarding: A Blog is Not an Ad”

What do this

Truck Billboard

and this (click to enlarge) have in common?

blogboard4.jpg

They are both self-promotion tools advertising ways their businesses can help you “promote” your business. That is not a blog. That is a blogboard, the online equivalent of a billboard.

A Blog is NOT an Ad

I will not deny that a blog is a branding mechanism and promotional tool, but not in the sense of traditional self promotion. By participating in an online discussion and contributing to it, you build your brand’s (or your own) reputation. It’s also about sharing.

Sharing is Caring

Cats sharingAmong other things, social media empowers the little guy to have the strength of big business. There is something subversive when we blog about social media tactics. There is also something honest and liberating about sharing instead of hording.

Take a look at Todd‘s, Kami‘s, Brian‘s, Chris‘ or Shel‘s blogs. Their blogs all give the same insight, strategies and tactics that they charge their clients for. Does blogging decrease the inbound sales for clients? Perhaps, but not likely. What it does do is help a curious, prospective client get a feel for the philosophy of their company. It also helps current clients stay informed.

Blogging also helps increase transparency. When a client knows what I’m doing, they have more faith in me and are more engaged. Nothing makes me happier than when a client discusses something they read on my blog or any blog…if it’s not a blogboard!

Fight Blogboarding! Show us, don’t tell us.

Oh: and NEVER put contact information in the post. Save that for the “About” section.

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Filed under Best Practices, Future of Media, How To, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Rants, Sharing is Caring, Social Media