Google At a Glance

The folks over at Pingdom, with a bit of time on their hands, put together this cool infographic of all stuff Google. Love ’em or not, you can’t help but be impressed by “the internet company.”

Did You Know…

…that 40 million people have been rick-rolled? Or that ABC, NBC and CBS combined (businesses that collectively have been
around for 200 years) receive 10 million viewers per month while Myspace,
Facebook and YouTube (none of which were around six years ago) reach 250 million monthly unique vistors?

No really, it’s true…as noted in the latest “Did you know?” video. This one was developed for the Economist and their upcoming Media Convergence Conference. (The original “Shift Happens” video, also developed by Karl Fisch and modified by Scott McLeod, went viral back in 2007. There have been few iterations since then.)

The Cluetrain…Express

The Cluetrain Manifesto serves as a must read for anyone who wants to best understand the connected world. It really serves as one of social media’s guide posts, emphasizing the human and conversation factors above the technology. It also has been key to the best practices of social media.

That said, there are still many who have not read it. Maybe you have used the excuse that you haven’t had time to read the book. (I know I have a shelf of books waiting for that mythical “What can I do now?” time period.) Maybe you have made other books a priority. Maybe you are waiting for the Cliff Notes version. You can’t say you don’t have the money…the text is free online.

Thanks to a heads up from
Paul Fabretti, you can view a slide presentation put together by tecorporation and SODB. I still recommend you read the whole Manifesto, but if you can’t do that right now, I’ll settle for the Cluetrain Theses if it helps anyone better understand the social media concept. Take a few minutes to scroll through this slide presentation via Slideshare and hop on the Cluetrain…express.



Feeling Not So Free at SXSW

In the last day or two, as I began to gather my thoughts and feelings about my trip to SXSWi and my planned posts, I had a terrible nagging feeling. One nagging feeling that wasn’t allowing me to write, post video, share some stories, or generally gush about what an incredible trip this had been.

So before I can share those posts, I need to share this one…

I’ll start by saying that there are some incredibly smart, talented and creative people  in the interactive space. Many of whom were scurrying about the Convention Center and streets of Austin this past week. Seriously, if you think that it’s just a bunch of Star Wars fanatics in black t-shirts trying to get to the next level of World of Warcraft or design the next fart noise app for the iPhone, you are mistaken. OK, there are some…but in general these are people that have not only imagined miraculous systems, applications, and tools but they have built the damn things! Many have poured time, money and energy into wondrous systems and services that help you and I access information and communicate with each other in places and ways never seen before.

Now here’s the thing…we’re asking them to not charge us for it? “Thanks for quitting your job, mortgaging the house and living on Ramen noodles. I’ll use the heck out of this (insert web service or app here) to better my business/life. What? It’s going to cost me $10 a year? Oh. Never mind.”

Such is the model of the business of free. This nagging feeling, this little rain cloud on the horizon of this new
world that I’ve fallen in love with, was precipitated by the final
keynote session featuring entrepreneur and marketer Guy Kawasaki and
Wired editor Chris Anderson, author of the forthcoming book “Free”. The
fire was further stoked by a post forwarded to me by my Minnov8
colleague, Graeme Thickins.

[Read more…]

Ahead in the Cloud

Whenever I find myself getting caught up in the verbiage of an industry, I feel compelled to look at it from the “average Joe” point of view. Simply put, “Cool word, what does it mean to me?”

Much has been made about “Cloud” computing recently. The term refers to computing done via the internet. Think using software or a service that doesn’t reside on your computer. (Perhaps you use Google Docs) But is this buzzword really the same s#@t in a different shovel?

This little bit of video featuring Frank Gillett from Forrester Research addresses it well.


I readily admit that I still get a bit of the heebie-jeebies whenever I
think about creating a document, modifying an image, or even backing up
my data on a platform that isn’t sitting right next to me in a fan
cooled box. But most of that is based purely on security and
privacy issues. Afterall, it’s not really a cloud, ya know. It’s sitting on a server somewhere…yeah, I’m a bit paranoid.

But the fact is, “cloud” computing
has been around for years and, because we Americans love to be mobile (now think cell phones, laptops, even portable radios and cars) it only
stands to reason there is more interest in the “cloud”. We also need to
chalk it up to marketing. Cloud Computing…I feel hipper just saying

So, all of us will be spending more time working and playing in the “cloud”. If you aren’t, many of those younger than you are. So keep thinking beyond your desktop…at maybe get a faster internet connection.

Drowning In Information

Help! Between my endless stream of traditional media info and my new “I can find you anywhere.” media information hydrant I feel like I’m treading water just trying to keep up.

(Cue the dun-ta-dah ‘to the rescue’ music.) I’m here to help ma’am (said in my most Dudley Do-right voice). It’s so easy to get carried away in trying to suck up all the info you really want. But c’mon, you have a life, or at least you should. Since Tivo, and podcasting have helped you tame the radio and TV info management issue, allowing you to watch and listen on your terms, I though it might be helpful to share some tips from some interactive friends for taming your online world.

Greg Swan points out that there are “Information Hoarders”, the junkies that can’t seem to get enough info. If that’s you this should be of some real help.

We’ll get to the web in a bit. Let’s start with your own little slice of info heaven, your computer. After years of e-mails, documents, downloaded photos, applications, widgets and what not, you have a treasure trove of info that caters to your interests both personal and professional. Now, if you could only find it…

First, from the makers of online search (and possible owners of the free world), try Google Desktop search. This bad boy brings the Big G’s search capability to your entire hard drive and your MS Outlook sent and received. To bad it can’t do the same for your kitchen junk drawer. Swan shares his ‘word of the day’; taxonomy to point out that it’s a good idea, if you haven’t already, to start tagging your files with the words that will make you remember them. Put that word in the file name or on the document itself.

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Word of Mouth 2.0

In an article published in the New York Times there is evidence that, despite what your father or grandfather mumbles (from under his hat while his turn signal continues to blink…for miles), young people do give a crap! They just go about it differently.

The internet and all of its social elements have driven those under 30 to sources other than TV, radio, or newspapers for that in-depth information. I’ll leave it to you to decide if their version of “in-depth” is good or bad.

The focus of the piece was on politics but it underscores the overall trend towards “…replacing the professional filter — reading The Washington Post, clicking on — with a social one.” when it comes to news and current events. More specifically, “According to interviews and recent surveys, younger voters tend to not just be consumers of news and current events but conduits as well — sending out e-mailed links and videos to friends and their social networks. And in turn, they rely on friends and online connections for news to come to them.”

This point was echoed at a recent media forum I attended that pointed to the trend of going straight to the source, bypassing the context and analysis that journalists provide.

This is the part that needs a bit of attention. As with any word of mouth activity, there is always the chance of the correct information becoming distorted or deleted as it travels. Remember the old telephone game where you would whisper a phrase to someone next you and they would in turn do the same to the person next to them and by the time it got to the last person in the line it would make no sense. (We would laugh and laugh…ah…good times.)

For better or worse, journalists, commentators, editors, etc. do serve as the gatekeepers of the information. We have come to count on them. That’s not to say that these gatekeepers always use the best judgment in getting info to the masses. We liberals point to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh while conservatives point to…well…everybody else in media.

With out any kind of oversight, will the news and information be correct? Is word of mouth always the best way to get that information? Is this good or bad? The statement from an Intelligence Group focus study subject saying, “If the news is that important, it will find me.” is, you have to admit, just a bit troubling, if for no other reason than incredibly  myopic.

The debate will continue (and be the basis of many more forums) but, as it does, Word of Mouth 2.0 is happening. People younger than I are looking to their peers for information. And I kind of like it. If nothing else, it’s healthy and it’s good for “traditional” communicators and media. The crowd is getting the chance to have much more input and it makes those that thrive on the “one to many” paradigm to rethink it.

Just be sure the facts are correct before you send the message to the next recipient….and tell your grandpa to shut off his turn signal.

Life at GhandiCon One

I’m working on a presentation for a new business venture and came across this little bit of jargon…those of you have been in the new media/technology world have probably heard of this phrase…”GandhiCon”.

What is Ghandicon? According to this jargon file it relates to a quote from Mohandas Gandhi, describing the stages of establishment resistance to a winning strategy of nonviolent activism. First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

The open source world has adopted it to describe what they see when they to get corporations and other large institutions to take new ways of doing things seriously. Together with the U.S. military’s degrees of war alert, known as DefCon, the levels of GhandiCon were born.

At GhandiCon One, you’re being ignored.

At GhandiCon Two, opponents are laughing at you and dismissing the idea that you could ever be a threat.

At GhandiCon Three, they’re fighting you on the merits and/or attempting to discredit you.

At GhandiCon Four, you’re winning and they are arguing to save face or stave off complete collapse of their position.

There are so many places you can relate GhandiCon. Apply it to negotiating for anew car, finding a job, pitching a new idea at work, or launching you own blog or website. How about dating? I remember the years of therapy that came from GhandiCon Two…sheesh.

No matter what you’re pursuing where this might apply remember that the satisfaction of being at GhandiCon Three and the sheer jubilation of GhandiCon Four are worth the trip

When Should You Be Social?

I want to share something that happened at a recent board meeting for an organization I have participated in for years. We’re a “working board” meaning the organization doesn’t have much dough to pay a huge staff. The two we do pay are exceptional but we still need to put on a conference every year and there is a lot to be done.

During the course of our rather long meeting we started talking about our plans for a new website. One of our members suggested we start a social network in conjunction with our new site roll out. Well, the little voice inside my head started screaming…I hate when that happens. You know I’m a big fan of everything online and Web 2.0 but we were getting close to jumping into something for the sake of it doing the “cool thing”.

There are many social network resources out there from Ning to Onesite. You could also set up a profile on Facebook or Myspace for your group or organization. Needless to say it’s fairly easy to set up, the question is; will it work and will it be worth your time? Will it be social or will it be just one more thing someone might sign up for…a glorified database?

With some help from Brett Bonfield at Idealware and this post at Techsoup along with some common sense here are some signs that social networks aren’t for you.

  1. You’re still trying to get a handle on your basic software infrastructure. There are plenty of “new media” tools to use to make your organization better and your communication with your audience easier. Social networking should not be the first to use.
  2. Your target audiences aren’t using social networking tools. This relates to knowing your audience. Social networks tend to work best for younger users. There is a new definition of what privacy is among the younger demographic and they are more prone to actually use these tools. So to simplify…hunt where the ducks are.
  3. You don’t have time to experiment with something that might not work. No matter what you think or have heard, social networks don’t run themselves. You’ll need someone to oversee and maintain the site.
  4. You’re not ready to invest in gaining a real understanding of the medium. Making social networks effective means you need to understand the culture and communities you’re joining or serving.
  5. You want clear editorial control over your brand and message. Social networks are not all about your message. You may find yourself trying to understand why the users don’t look at your brand the way you want it to be looked at. You can’t set up rules regarding that message and expect users to follow them. You’ll need to be able to let the users have their own voice…positive or negative.
  6. Mission and Purpose. Whether it’s organizational or personal, does using a social network further your mission?

In our case, we decided to put the idea on hold until we overcome some other technical and organizational items. I’m confident that when we do enter into the world of social networking we’ll do it right and take advantage of the opportunities it offers.

More on those opportunities next week.

Sunday Morning with Skype

After quite some time, a recent business venture led me to dust off my Skype account. I actually got the account a long time back but really had little cause to use it. That and the built-in mic I use sounded like poop. In reality, I was intrigued by the whole VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) thing when I started down the “new media”. (If the yellow brick road had the munchkins, imagine what this road has. Yikes) 

Anyway, I have the need to speak with my partner on this venture regularly so we decided to use Skype for our regular chats and it was interesting to get up and running on this rather social media offering. So I’m thinking, “Phil, you’re sooo cutting edge.”

Then the family and I are at church when in the middle of the weekly announcements, our Pastor introduces one of the other Pastors “live” from India via Skype. We’ve all become accustom to those video phone interviews on CNN. Seeing an embedded reporter’s jerky and sometime out of sync updates is a fairly normal occurrence these days, but having your worship leader give you the scoop on a mission trip at three in the morning where he was took me by surprise. (OK, we went to church on Saturday night. The title just didn’t seem as snappy.) There it was…all main-stream and stuff.

I started thinking about all the uses for Skype beyond me talking to a colleague and getting reports from India. There are many: Have you got a conference with the suits coming up and you want to include others around the company? Skype it. Interview for your podcast or website? Skype it. Talking with Uncle Chutney in London and the phone card is tapped? You get the idea.

The Skype site can give you the complete skinny on the service. My point is that it’s one of the tools that can help you in your efforts to communicate. Remember, that to really get the most out of it, you and the person you’re talking with will need a high speed internet connection. Also, don’t skimp on a microphone or headset. We found that a Bluetooth headset and a wireless network is quite dicey…at best.

If you’re going to use Skype for a professional reason and the technical things aren’t in place. Don’t do it. Remember, know the audience and the level of technology they have access to.

Time to call Uncle Chutney….

It’s Thursday, Must Be Radio: My week with Nabbit

Today you’ll find both radio (see why I talk radio each Thursday here.) and a new mobile application to go with it. A new media blogger’s double-play, sweet!

Back in early November Jumptech launched its beta version of Nabbit. This mobile application allows you to “tag” songs and commercials while listening to your favorite radio stations. I’m all about finding ways to build on the relationship between radio stations and their listeners so I was anxious to get up and running with this, especially since Jumptech is a company located right here in the Twin Cities. Hey, let’s here it for the home team. (Wow, two baseball references in one post.)

So, I head to the Nabbit website and sign up. Please keep in mind, though I do have pretty good knowledge of computers and cell phones I would not consider myself much better at installing software than the average user. Anyway, now that I’m registered, I go to set up my cell phone. Nabbit works with many of the new web-enabled “smart” phones. They have a list of models that the application has been configured to work with that provides an easy install…at least that would be the impression you would get. Of course, just my luck, my Treo 650 is not “easily” supported. Here is where the first “needs an easy button.” warning goes off. That’s cool though, remember, this is a “beta” version so the Jumptech guys are still shaking it out. After some surfing, downloading, installing and a few more e-mails to Nabbit, I’m up and running. This has become a 2 day experience. “Easy button.”

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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
(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…