Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I don’t think even my parents know what I dedicated 4 years of my life – and a good chunk of their budget- to. Whenever my mom and I talk about my school or work, she usually asks “Well, are you enjoying it?” And I say “Yeah, I love it!” I then start talking about usability, Search Engine Optimization, social media marketing, web analysis and online campaigns. I go on telling her how we reduced our bounce rates or rolled out a new micro-site. She usually says something like “I see” or “Sounds fun” or my all-time favorite “Well, good for you…”
It drives me nuts when people say “Well, good for you…” Unfortunately, this is the most common response I get when discussing my degree or work. So when someone asks me what I studied in college, I always talk about the classes that I’ve taken to give this person a general idea of what I have learned: social impact of new media, computer mediated communications, digital arts, writing for web, programming… so on and so forth. Then this person thinks for a second or two – trying to digest all the information that I have just thrown at her – and replies, “Oh, so you are a graphic designer/programmer/web developer/writer!..” “No,” I say, “I’m an Internet Marketing Specialist.. Or a Web Strategist…” [AWKWARD PAUSE] And she goes “Well… good for you…”
I think the problem is that for many people Internet is still a foreign territory. They still believe that bloggers are a handful of geeks or failed journalists. They think of internet marketing in terms of spam, pay-per-click, EBay and banner ads. They are convinced that MySpace is for their teenage kids and perverts and Facebook is for college crazies. And they probably still believe that Wikipedia is just a sham.
I hope one day people will realize how huge Internet is and how much influence it is having on every aspect of our personal, social and professional lives. May be then I won’t get any more of “Well… good for you…” [or should I say “I can’t believe you wasted 4 years of your life and your parents’ money on THAT”] type of stuff and get something like “Oh wow, sounds great! Tell me more about it!”
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
According to Wikipedia, the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) was the “world's first operational packet switching network, and the predecessor of the global Internet.”
Unlike circuit switching, packet switching allowed to use single link to communicate with more than one machine. The entry on Wikipedia says, “Not only could the link be shared (much as a single post box can be used to post letters to different destinations), but each packet could be routed independently of other packets.” The first message send over the ARPANET occurred on October 29, 1969 at 10:30 P.M.
"Lick (Dr. J.C.R. Licklider, a pioneer in computer science and founder of the ARPANET) was among the first to perceive the spirit of community created among the users of the first time-sharing systems... In pointing out the community phenomena created, in part, by the sharing of resources in one timesharing system, Lick made it easy to think about interconnecting the communities, the interconnection of interactive, on-line communities of people, ..." (ARPA draft, III-21)
Monday, May 19, 2008
According to Mickey Hart, percussionist and musicologist, “The drum circle offers equality because there is no head or tail. It includes people of all ages. The main objective is to share rhythm and get in tune with each other and themselves. To form a group consciousness. To entrain and resonate.”
In this sense of shared consciousness, drumming is very similar to building content for the social media sites. Just like every drum circle has its unique beat, tune and pace, each social media site has its own tone and vibe. Social media users form communities – or circles- around their areas of interest to share thoughts and knowledge and “get in tune with each other and themselves.” And while every “collective voice” in drumming consists of hundreds of different sounds that fuse into one salient beat, social media content emerges from hundreds, thousands or even millions of individual online voices.
Among those voices, companies are striving to become the ‘base drums’ – those who lay the foundation for the social media content and lead the rest of the online community. What these companies need to remember, however, is that among drummers, leaders are chosen by the members of a circle. Same happens online. To become leaders, companies need to win trust and respect from the social media community. What’s more important, they need to be ‘in tune’ with the rest of the circle.
Friday, May 16, 2008
In his post “The 7 Deadly Sins of Blogging” Tom Pick lists seven ‘deadly’ mistakes a blogger should try to avoid. Here they are:
Gluttony: Avoid the "it's all about ME!" syndrome in blogging, where every post is about ME, MY company, or MY product or service…
Greed: Everyone has to eat, so there's nothing wrong with generating income from a blogâ€”providing it's done ethically…The sin, however, comes from deceptionâ€”passing off paid content as an "objective" blog post. If exposed, this practice destroys a blog's credibility.
Sloth: A blog needs fresh content on a reasonably frequent basis to be effective. Writing a couple of posts per month (or less) is not conducive to getting traction with search engines, RSS subscribers or other bloggers.
Wrath: The best review posts have an objective tone, presenting both the strong points and limitations of a product, services, company, individual or idea. But posts that simply trash someone or something seldom do a blogger or his/her audience any good, and certainly don't help the subject of the writing…
Pride: You've seen itâ€”bloggers who write with the tone of "I am the all-knowing fountain of wisdom on (topic), and you mere mortals should count yourselves blessed indeed to feast on the morsels of knowledge that fall from my intellectual table." Oh gag me. Get over yourself.
At the same time, Todd Defren published a post called “The PR Professional's Credo: 7 Promises” describing seven rules PR professionals should follow to gain trust and respect of the bloggers they pitch.
1. The PR pro promises to read several weeks’ worth of previous blog posts and/or articles to ascertain whether their story would be a good fit for the blog/publication.
2. If the PR pro ascertains that there is NOT a good fit, they will not pitch the blogger/reporter, and promise to push back on unreasonable client or management demands to do so.
3. Before pitching the blogger/reporter, the PR pro promises to double-check their method of outreach. They will not only check externally-developed media resources like Cision but will also review any guidelines made publicly available by the blogger or publication.
4. The PR pro promises to never send a press release without being able to demonstrate its concrete relevance to the blogger/reporter … and will never, ever send an attachment unless it’s been requested.
5. As much as is possible, the PR pro will participate actively and transparently within the communities of-interest to their clients. The PR pro acknowledges that a “cold call” (in any form) – while sometimes unavoidable – is considerably less effective than reaching out as a known community member.
6. The PR pro promises that any correspondence – whether the initial contact or follow-up – should contain a message customized to the blogger/reporter’s needs and should offer value. For example, “just checking to see if you got the press release” is not welcome or appropriate.
7. The PR pro acknowledges that being ignored by the blogger/reporter is not to be considered license for harassment. It’s more likely the pitch was not of-interest, so any further outreach should be mindful that the story idea has likely been quietly rejected. If the PR pro must try again, they promise to do so by offering a different, more creative and valuable approach to their original pitch.
At the end, both, bloggers and PR professionals, need to act like human beings, respect each other, their audiences and communities and do their jobs with integrity. However, I do disagree with Defren’s promise #7. If you’ve done your homework and followed all the other 6 promises, it doesn’t hurt to double-check whether your email/pitch was received/read/passed along/or forgotten. I’ve been through a couple of occasions when people I was pitching forgot about my email or deleted it by accident. And they were very thankful when I emailed them to confirm that all the materials I’d emailed before had been received.