Sunday Morning Conversation

I woke to my family’s usual Sunday Morning routine. Being
the first to rise, I watch as the family staggers from their bedrooms with
sleep in their eyes. My son heads downstairs to work on his Guitar Hero chops,
my daughter climbs into our bed to watch the latest on the all important Disney
Channel, and my wife and I grab our coffee and settle in to watch CBS News
Sunday Morning
.

While not as good as it was when Charles Kuralt hosted, and
despite too many reruns from the archives, as well as Charles Osgood’s annoying
obsession with rhyming and insistence on referring to the year as
“twenty-oh-seven,” CBS still manages to present some great “articles” during
it’s Sunday morning magazine show.

This morning’s piece, ”Less Talk And A Little More Conversation, was right up the
RemainComm alley. As the use of other forms of communication proliferates, the
ability for people to converse is becoming more of a problem. Though the piece
quickly became too film oriented, the underlying importance of the give and
take of conversation, as well as the importance of listening remained front and
center.

An aside; the topic of blogging came up briefly in comments
from writer Delia Ephron. She noted, “So, if you are blogging…you’re
e-mailing – you aren’t listening, right? You don’t have to listen. It’s really
just what’s in your own head.” Hold up there Ms. Ephron, blogging is more akin to writing than it is to conversation. Are we
comparing apples to apples here? If you’re blogging you are not e-mailing. Ephron
goes on to say, “I mean, conversation is about feelings and emotion,
that’s what it should really be about. If we’re not seeing it, that’s the
loss.” With this, I agree, though make no mistake blogging is also about sharing feelings
and emotion, conversation goes farther and includes seeing and hearing those feelings and emotions.

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Being an Early Adopter…OK, Maybe Not the Best Way to Meet Women.

I got a peek at some info from Ipsos I-Say regarding early
adopters
. As usual, according to this article, the whole “gotta have the gadget” world is still
predominantly male. Beyond the psychology of the report here are some basic facts from Ipsos…

Wait…before we talk about the stats, as a card carrying male,
I need to point out a few things that impact this research. First, admit it
gents, as guys when someone asks about stuff like this we usually always say we
know what the heck we’re talking about. Remember, we’re the ones who don’t ask
for directions. (Of course now we don’t have to with GPS gizmos. See how this
whole thing comes full circle.) Second, God forbid, we should even remotely
come off as not being hip. iPhone? Hell yeah, I’ve got one! (OK not really but
does the researcher need to know that.) Early adoption is clearly a great way to reinforce our male ego. On with the stats…

According to the Ipsos study, over 44% of males consider
themselves to be technology-savvy and 51% think they have better technical
skills than the average person, whereas women aren’t as confident about their
technological abilities. Actually 34% admit that complicated electronics make
them feel apprehensive.

Almost 49% of males are excited about cutting-edge
electronics compared to only 35% of females. Men also like to have the newest
gadgets and high tech products (33% vs. 22%). More males than females believe
they embrace new technology more quickly than the rest of society (38% vs. 23%).

Now that we’ve seen the numbers, some observations;

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Is Blogging Just for Geeks?

Geek:
A person who is interested in technology, especially computing and new media. (Most
geeks I know don’t even own a pocket protector.)

So, as I’m cruising through my Google reader this weekend
I’m
thinking, “Wow, the net is all about Leopard (the Mac OS) this weekend.” It
started me thinking about all of the “feeds” I have in my “reader”…

Techmeme, Engadget,Connecting the Dots, Lifehacker,
Tech-Surf-Blog… surely there’s more to my blogosphere than techy/geeky stuff…right?
Hear 2.0, Infinite Dial, Jacoblog…okay, radio stuff (Not much different though).
Wait a minute…Boing Boing, Mental Floss, Mostly Trivial, RemainComm (Say, that
one’s quite exceptional.) Whew! I do have some “non-geeky” nourishment feeding
me.

So out of curiosity I head over to Technorati and see what
the “most popular blogs are. Three of the top five and 6 of the top 10 are…well…geeky. That’s okay; don’t let that stop you from digging farther into the online
world. The truth is most of these geeks, me included, want more non-geeks
onboard.

Hop online, search for your topic and you’ll find it. Of
course, don’t be surprised if you come across more information than you could
possibly want on “killer apps,” “widgets” and a pile of blogs on…well…blogging.
Hey, it comes with the territory. The people that build the web use it the most.
It’s only logical that they are talking about it a lot.

If you’re into the tech stuff, cool. If you want more brain
food take in Boing, Boing, Mostly Trivial, of that up and coming RemainComm
(very cool). Art, Politics, Writing, Gardening, Do-it-yourself, Animal Husbandry…everybody has a voice! Please,
go ahead, listen…and if you want…join in. (Maybe you’ll wanna keep the animal husbandry thing to yourself.)

Converting to a new “Metrics” System

If you’re over the age of 45 you are probably thinking about
the movement to convert the U.S. to the metric system. Remember, we were going to measure stuff just like the
rest of the world? (Try as we might, us wacky Americans just couldn’t seem to
get the hang of the whole x10 deal.)
 

What I’m referring to is the new media and online business “metrics”
system. The metrics we use to measure the success of online advertising. As I’ve
addressed many times in this blog, new media needs to offer proof of its
success in generating traffic for advertisers. I have always maintained that we
are enjoying a buzz factor resulting in substantial amounts of money pouring
into online advertising. It’s vital to get a better handle on how we measure
the results because it’s only a matter of time before those advertisers want
proof that their investment works. Who knew that time would be…gulp…quite so
soon.

In an October 22nd New York Times article titled,
“How Many Site Hits? Depends Who’s Counting.” author Louise Story points out
the disparity in the site visit and page view numbers provided by the different
companies supplying metrics (Nielsen, ComScore, etc.). Say hello to the first
drop of what could result in a flood of media buyers pointing out “reasons we
shouldn’t spend so much on web advertising.”

The numbers in question continue to be based on the way we
measure TV, Radio and Newspaper. “How many see it? How many hear it? How many
read it?” I would submit that we need to focus on “Who uses it?” New media
advertising offers something to the consumer that no other media does…instant
interaction. Clicking on a banner, downloading a video or podcast, that’s
something you can measure. In fact, I think that if a new media ad inspires someone
to take immediate action its worth more
than a TV, Radio, or Newspaper ad.

But, this goes beyond even “clicks”. Let’s invest the money
and go a step further. Do the research and go beyond quantity. Take the
opportunity that a new advertising medium is laying out to us. Provide
information on the quality of the users and the experience they have. Start
training media buyers now on how new media consumers take advantage of the
advertising they interact with. Mass media is OK but, commitment and loyalty
(brought about by the user experience) is so much better. We need to start
working now on establishing a new style of metrics (just as organizations like
the ADM is earnestly working to do).

New media offers us a chance to advertise and market in a
whole new way. Let’s stop trying to measure it in a whole old way.

To Blog or Not to Blog?

If you follow this blog regularly, and as you’ll find out
later in this post, regularly is a term I use loosely, you’ll note that it’s
been awhile since I’ve commented on anything.


Don’t get me wrong, as many of my closest friends know, I’m
never at a loss for “topics” that must be commented on (He says with just the
right amount of sarcasm.). It’s just that lately; I’ve been wrestling with what
topics are “worth” commenting or reporting on.

For example, I noticed that shortly after the conclusion of
the Podcasting and New Media Expo, known by it’s acronym as PNME, the
organizers decided to drop the “P” or podcasting from the name. Ok, now the
acronym for the New Media Expo is NME. NME…en-em-ee…enemy! Oops! I’m not sure
this is what needs to be communicated by “new media.” So I’m thinking a post
titled something like “When Acronyms Attack” could be good, but is it?

Another example…Recently the National Association of
Broadcasters
(Yep, radio again) announced that it was launching the Radio 2020 initiative.
The idea is to focus on keeping radio relevant for years to come. I don’t think
the window is that wide, let’s go with Radio 2010. Clearing that hurtle is
tough enough. Nah…that topic just seems so…well…done. Besides, it’s too easy to
be cynical and that’s been way, way over done.

So, I’ve shied away from posting because I want to provide
content that is much more actionable as well as entertaining and not just
musings. I’ve found, with all of the information that pours down on us every
day it’s difficult enough to keep up without me adding to it. And yes, in
addition, I now know the meaning of “writer’s block”.

The problem is that if I want to fulfill the goal of
RemainComm, which is to keep communicating, I need to…well keep communicating. In
order to build relationships we all need to keep talking to each other. In my
case, one way I do that is through this blog. If I’m ever going to build a
relationship with you, I’m going to need to share more of me in the hopes of
you sharing more with me.

So, here’s the deal. I’ll keep striving to post real
actionable content but at the same time I’ll keep posting “regularly”. That may
mean shorter posts, posts that are a bit out of left field, or posts that are
insightful, thought provoking, and life changing (yeah…well…maybe). In the end
though, let’s keep talking…

Now about this whole Ellen crying on TV deal…

Revisiting RemainComm

I want to take an opportunity to follow-up on some of the
posts you’ve seen here…

ADM-About Da Money-Things are rolling along with the
formation of the Association for Downloadable Media, most importantly the announcement of its
first open meeting. If you’re into the whole new media thing and your headed
for the Podcast and New Media Expo coming up September 28-30 in Ontario, CA,
the meeting will happen at 7:30am on the 28th. Learn more by
clicking here. I also want to encourage you to join, especially if you’re about
making money with podcasting or any downloadable media.

A Note For the Teacher-I heard back from my son’s
communications teacher and she is anxious to dedicate a unit to communicating
in the world of new media. I love that! She has also asked for my help. So I’d love
to hear from you. If you have ideas on what to include in teaching middle school kids about
text, e-mail, blogging and more. Feel free to e-mail me here.

Google gives a
little “push” to make more “pull”
-Some activity in the FCC auction of the 700mHz band. Though the FCC didn’t completely go along with Google’s requests
for a completely open platform, they did set aside some of the best real estate
in the spectrum to be used by a carrier “as a network that is open to any
devices and services.” Google still hasn’t committed to be part of the
bidding but Steve Jobs and Apple have started to express some interest. Apple
vs. Google, Apple vs. AT&T, “dogs sleeping with cats”…This auction, set for
January 16th, 2008, could be fun to watch, to say the least.

Ringles? Really?

According to a story from Reuters, the music industry
doesn’t get it…yet. No, that’s not the headline of the story. It’s the bottom
line of the story.

Photo courtesy of Boy Genius Report.

The record industry announced the birth of the Ringle.* As
the article about this nifty combination of the words ringtones and
singles describes…”Each ringle is expected to
contain three songs — one hit and maybe one remix and an older track — and
one ringtone, on a CD with a slip-sleeve cover.”
The logic(?) behind this
“new” product? “…if consumers in the
digital age ca
n download any tracks they want individually, why not let them
buy singles in the store as well? It also enables stores to get involved in the
ringtone phenomenon.”
Note: I suspect this is less about the consumer and all
about maintaining the relationship between retail and the music industry.

I have a few very good friends in the record promotion
industry and I very much want them to succeed. But, yikes, I continue to be
concerned for them when I see an idea like this. Don’t get me wrong, packaging
a hit, a remix and, a ringtone is not necessarily a bad idea. Delivering it on
CD is the bad part of the idea.

First, the sale of CD’s has fallen because people can
download songs…for less money. That means not going to the store. Ringtones are
popular for the very same reason, easy to get and cheap.
This package configuration would be great online. How about 3 songs for three bucks and
you get a free ringtone? It should be pointed out that it’s extremely easy to make your own
ringtone from any song. But that’s a topic for another blogger. Suffice it to
say, if I can do it, anyone can.

I don’t believe it’s really a “good deal” to spend
six or seven beans for songs on a piece of plastic that I’m probably going to
rip into my computer or mp3 player anyway…and I’m an “old” guy. I can’t
imagine “those whacky kids” rushing out to buy three songs on CD. Perhaps we should
continue to find ways to make music easier to get, cheaper, and of better sound
quality online. Feel free to keep the ringtone.

*Still listed in Wikipedia as a town in Wisconsin…Marathon County…population 1,408…ringtone not included.

A Note for the Teacher

Dear ______,

I was looking through the
handout that came home with my son regarding your plans, expectations, and
policies for your communications class. I truly appreciate all your hard work
and will do everything in my power to help my son excel in your class and
develop a strong interest in communication as I have. 

Also, I wanted to ask if you
have anything in your curriculum regarding communicating in the “New
Media” world including e-mail, text messaging, voicemail, blogging, etc… If
so, great! If not, I’d like
to talk with you about the subject.

Whether it’s a one day topic or a
week long “unit”, the way our kids communicate today is much
different and involves a technology that’s quite different than previous
generations. Text messaging has already become the communication of choice
among our youth and has spawned a whole new “language” while e-mail is the
standard in the business community. It is vital that our kids learn the art of
communication no matter what the vehicle. They must understand the difference
between crafting a short story or composing a letter and how they text or
e-mail. Imagine Hamlet written “2B?” You’d have to agree that what we write
reflects who we
are as an individual, as well as whom we are as a society, to
readers now and in the future.

I know you have much on your plate
as a new school year begins and I’m sure there are many things you wish to
accomplish. I hope that this topic is part of your teaching plans, if not this
year perhaps next.

Again, thanks so much for your
dedication to our kids and thanks in advance for your time on this
discussion. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Phil  Wilson

Dad