Friday Frivolity – Google Roommate

With all of the exciting things being released from Google recently, including the convoluted, yet promising Google Wave, the experimental organized search-relevancy tool that is Google Squared, and the promise of Chrome on Mac and Linux, Google is certainly making strides to bury the release of Microsoft’s search engine Bing continue to be the a powerhouse in search and Internet-based collaboration.

So, what else will Google continue to provide to us – and at what cost? Check out ROOMMATES – Episode 1 from the boys at The Big Honkin, a hilarious adventure when Google becomes their roommate.

I’m looking forward to more, because as Google continues to roll out new services, Google Roommate may not be far behind. Hat tip agian to my colleauge and Internet bloodhound (in the nicest way) JayVee for pointing this out to me.

Friday Frivolity – Twouble with Twitters

I, as a humble observer of the digital landscape, merely comment on the buzz therein. So, yes, I appear to be on a Twitter kick, but with good reason, it’s getting popular – and ultimately ridiculed because of it. People and businesses are using it, but still many people outside the fruit-drink chugging circle will look at you like an alien if you try to explain or show them Twitter out of context. As evidenced by the following hilarious video.

While they’re a any number of fantastic communication, entertainment and business reasons to use Twitter – please be very aware of the perception many will have of it. And while I hope the Fail Whale doesn’t try to eat you because of it, certainly your boss or client will if you aren’t prepared with a solid explanation of how this helps the driving goal of the organization.

I’ve been a fan of SuperNews since I posted about the Social Networking Wars some time ago. For more head to http://current.com/supernews or catch the Season Premiere, airing tonight, Friday March 20, 10 PM ET.

Jimmy Eat World Gets Social

Here’s a cool update: I just got a DM on Twitter from @jimmyeatworld “thanks for the nice article! and thanks for listening.” Nice work, guys. I’m hooked.

As a fan of both social media and music, I like to report on outstanding social web exercises. One of my favorite bands, Jimmy Eat World, has been forcing me to engage with them online – and I like it.

jimspan

Check out my guest post, Jimmy Eat World Gets Social on The Round Table where I discuss my love affair with the band’s engaging approach to their 10-year anniversary of the Clarity album.

Check Jimmy out online:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jimmyeatworld

Website: http://jimmyeatworld.com/

Clarity site: http://clarity.jimmyeatworld.com/

Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/jimmy-eat-world-live

Friday Frivolity – Twitter Frenzy

I tweet. You tweet. Who doesn’t tweet?

Well, a lot of people, that’s who. While cool tools like Twitter are great instruments (hat tip, Shannon Paul) with a lot of fantastic uses, it’s good to remember that, despite the fact that your Tweetdeck is giving you a constant window into the Twitterverse – and all your friends are on it – and you can’t imagine knowing anyone worth knowing is not on Twitter – because Dave Matthews is on it and Starbucks is and Riann Wilson and The New York Times and The Home Depot and, well, guess what?

Still not everyone is using it. Case in point: One of the baddest, smartest comic news guys around, Jon Stewart, says: “I have no idea how it works or what it is.” Watch on. [feed readers click through]

more about “The Daily Show – Twitter Frenzy “, posted with vodpod

Communicators need to know the latest flashy widgets as well as the old standbyes. Both are in constant change. So know your audience, know your channels of communicating and know your message. Sounds like old, familiar advice.

Update: I forgot to include this hilarious and thought-provoking post by fellow Ohioan Kevin Dugan related to this topic. From One Thing Syndrome to Everything Syndrome, he’s got your two syndromes covered. Check it out.

Hat tip to BL Ochman for reminding me what a great sharable video this is. Also, you should follow me on Twitter.

Blog Scrapers Imagine a Magical Concern

RSS Scraping

Original Photo by Bret Arnett

Since there have been blogs, there have been people who steal your content. I’m not taking about borrowing your thoughts or words under a Creative Commons license, I’m talking about directly stealing your content to house on blogs loaded with Google Adwords or other advertising. Actually, for some of these blogs I’m not even sure what the point is. I’m not sure I understand a lot of the scraping and comment spam I’ve seen. If anyone has a good post on it, let me know in the comments.

Shel Holtz briefly introduced CopyGator during episode #416 of The Hobson and Holtz Report last week. CopyGator is:

…a free service designed to monitor your RSS feed and find where your content has been republished in the blogosphere. We automatically notify you when a new post of yours is copied to another feed, we also build an overview page you can view to see how/when/where your content is being duplicated, quoted or plagiarized.

It’s a great idea, but one I haven’t been able to test it out yet.  I’m looking forward to it, as in the past I’ve found a surprising amount of my content posted to other sites, which, while flattering, is annoying.

So while monitoring the blogosphere for some client mentions today, imagine my surprise when I found this bizarre review of a product with the strangest non-native-English-speaking tone to it, i.e.

  • “Imagine a magical concern where you read text scribbled by a kinsfolk member in their poorest cowardly scratch” or
  • “Make trusty to yield a interpret here to intend this terminal entry.”

And while absolutely hysterical to read in the Engrish Funny kind of way, it just shows that for every tool created hackers, scrapers and spammers will figure out a way around it.

Upon further review, I did discover the original blog post written about my client’s product. So apparently scrapers are now taking your content and running it through some sort of thesaurus program or other word-altering script so you can’t easily locate them, except that the product name was still in there along with the images. Not cool. CopyGator appears to work on the feed, not the content, so I look forward to delving further into that and seeing how it works.

So if you find your content being scraped you might want to look into CopyGator. Has anyone tried it? Thoughts? Comments?

For kicks, I just wish I had whatever program they were running this content through. It would be fun to push some classic poems or literature through it, i.e.

  • “To have being or to not exist, that is the interrogatory statement”
  • “Times being the most plentiful, also worst of all were the times.”
  • “More than one pathway did fork in timberland, and myself taken to me the unihabited choice, and that has made all the expression of the form f(x + h) − f(x).”

A Podcast Dies a Thousand Deaths…

Death of Podcasting …an unfounded Internet meme lives forever.

At the end of 2008, with the demise of podcasting service Podango (no link ’cause they’re, uh, gone), the “Podcasting is Dead” meme recirculated again. The conversation, this time spurred from a recent blog post by Michael Goeghegan, referring to Podango’s situation and an unfortunately titled presentation he did in 2007.

So on Dec 31, 2008, Joseph Jaffe hosted a live discussion with some of podcasting’s greats to discuss the situation.

The rockstar guest list included:

It was a spirited discussion about podcasting with some really interesting insight. I regret not catching it live and joining the conversation via voice or the chat room. Keep in mind that most of these aforementioned podcasters are marketing and public relations folks (many have been on the cutting edge of podcasting for years), which is important to keep in mind. But there are a few names in there whose primary vocation is podcasting, which is also important to note. Take a listen if you want.

Also, Shel cited two excellent sources (thanks for the links, Shel) including a Pew Internet study “Podcast Downloading 2008” and Edison Media Research’s The Podcast Consumer Revealed 2008, which provide some interesting stats and figures about the consumption of podcasts. Listener and viewership is UP.

The themes I pulled from the 90+ minute discussion, include:

  • There are two types of podcast concepts (I’m stripping these down to their cores): 1) Podcasting as a marketing tool and 2) Podcasting as a distinct medium. The former includes producing content as a positioning tool for your business, consultancy, event, etc. The latter includes producing content strictly for the purpose of generating content. The print equivalents would be 1) producing a glossy magazine filled with interesting, industry-related content, sponsored by your business and 2) producing a magazine filled with interesting content, funded by ads and (possibly) subscription costs.
  • The death of podcasting tends to erupt whenever a business or person decides that concept #2 isn’t working out. Ravenscraft cites a conversation he had with Goeghegan referring exactly to this. It’s both time consuming and, for some, technically challenging to create a podcast. My opinion is that podfading is more prevalent than businesses going under and entrepreneurs giving up hopes on the medium combined.
  • Podcasting shouldn’t be about the technology. When you get hung up on the technology you’re missing the point. Podcasting is a tool, a channel for reaching audiences.
  • The main problem with podcasting today is that there is no easy, standardized method for distribution or subscription. RSS, as the geeks know, is what’s powering both,  and iTunes has come a long way in putting podcasts into the mainstream. A lot of people don’t sync, don’t timeshift, don’t know where to get podcasts.
  • Podcasting’s flexibility is its huge advantage. How can you make it work for you?
  • People ARE making money podcasting. Some are indirectly, by positioning themselves to be experts in their field; but Grammar Girl and Ravenscraft are both examples of people paying the bills directly because of podcasting.

So here are my thoughts on podcasting:

  • Podcasting is – wait for it – not dead.
  • The more niche the content, the better off you’ll be. The Internet has made geography irrelevant, all you have to do is find enough people across the world who are interested in what your talking about. I think that’s a fairly attainable goal. However, it’s easy to forget the Mid-Tail, as the Edison Media (link above) piece reminds us. As a good communicator, one needs to remember who the audience is and be sure the message is on target. It’s cliche as hell, but content is still king in podcasting.
  • That said, your talent has a lot to do with the show, that and production. Don’t skimp on either. I’ve chosen one podcast over another in similar categories numerous times because of the hosts. I’ll put up with a lot in terms of audio production, but there is a limit. Most of your audiences won’t be so forgiving and you’ll only have ONE shot to impress them.
  • Community is HUGE. This goes back to your talent, but you’ve got to make it easy for a community to form around your content. Don’t broadcast, engage. I think the reason the top podcasts on iTunes are typically repurposed mainstream media bits (ESPN, NPR, etc) is because there is already a community of people engaged with that content and talent. In this situation, the podcast is becoming an alternative method for receiving content, most likely because of the on-demand, timeshifted nature of the beast. As the Edison piece indicates, these people are big into social networks, too. I can’t lead your horse to the water more than that. Drink. And that only makes it hard to break through the clutter if you’re trying to do something that’s already out there. Here’s a hint – don’t do that unless you can do it WAY better. I’m still waiting for a short, weekly audio podcast wrapping up the NHL games, highlights and standings. I haven’t looked in a while, but if you know of one, tell me about it.

I LOVE podcasts, they keep me sane, but I have a 60-120 minute commute, one-way, depending on weather and traffic. And I have a lot more thoughts, but I’m hoping you’ll pitch in here. What are your thoughts? Do you listen? Why or why not? How and where do you listen? Do you sync and timeshift?

The Rundown with Matt Dickman and the Face of Facebook

TheRundown The Rundown is back! Welcome to the newly revamped Rundown Podcast. Once again I’ll be giving and getting The Rundown on social media and all things Public Relations and Digital marketing on the web with a knowledgeable person.

Episode 1 (Run time: 31:40) of The Rundown Podcast welcomes Matt Dickman, the Techno//Marketer and his new eBook series “The Face of Facebook: A marketer’s guide to understanding the population of Facebook” Which is a comprehensive guide for marketers to understand what the population of Facebook really looks like and how to market within the community.

Subscribe using iTunes

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Join the show and send audio or text comments, suggestions and complaints to:

Show Notes

  • 00:41 Welcome
  • 02:24 Comment from Paull Young (twitter)
  • 04:25 Comments? Suggestions?
  • 05:11 FIR’s upcoming roundtable on Start up PR (starter posts: Calacanis’ Fire Your PR Company, Godin’s The Myth of Launch PR)
  • The Rundown with Matt Dickman
  • 06:42 Intro
  • 07:14 Matt Dickman’s elevator pitch
  • 08:01 Why the Face of Facebook?
  • 09:17 Marketing in a web 2.0 world
  • 10:18 State of FB marketing
  • 11:42 Adding Value: more than a notion
  • 13:30 Numbers – Pages and total population
  • 14:35 Global Takeaway
  • 15:46 Accuracy of stats?
  • 16:49 Male, female or other?
  • 17:46 Ethnicity
  • 20:00 Creating an ad
    • Social action
    • Pricing
  • 23:43 Applications
  • 25:34 Beacon
  • 27:26 Poll
  • 28:44 The Rundown

Visit LukeArmour.libsyn.com to:

  • Listen on your computer
  • Download mp3s
  • Subscribe to RSS
  • Subscribe in iTunes (or just search Luke Armour in the iTunes store!)

Don’t hesitate to send in audio or text comments, questions, feedback and anything else that suits your fancy. I reserve the right, of course, to play or read any and all of your comments as well as delete them without a second thought. But don’t let that stop you from giving it a shot!

Please let me know what you think via email or leave an audio comment at: +1 206-984-4232.

Inside Pandora’s Box: A Twitter Story

Sure, I twitter. I am also a huge fan of Pandora.

If you don’t know what Twitter is, it’s a service people use to constantly complain about Twitter. It’s also this. Pandora is an online music site that helps you fine other music you’ll love:

With Pandora you can explore this vast trove of music to your heart’s content. Just drop the name of one of your favorite songs or artists into Pandora and let the Genome Project go. It will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings – new and old, well known and completely obscure – to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice. Then sit back and enjoy as it creates a listening experience full of current and soon-to-be favorite songs for you.

I’ve found – and purchased – a lot of new music because of Pandora. I’m a fan.

And I’m happy to report that some businesses have also figured out that with so many people on Twitter, they (the businesses) might as well see if they (the people) need anything else.

Enter customer service at the place where the customers are already talking about the brand. Some outstanding examples of excellent Twitter engagement have been detailed on many other outstanding blogs. It works.

Here’s my story. I follow the Pandora_Radio twitter feed ’cause they engage and occasionally provide interesting tidbits about what’s going on at Pandora HQ. It’s voiced by Lucia, Pandora’s Community Manager. Some select examples:

I saw a tweet go by my stream the other day and I responded with an unsolicited suggestion that Pandora not automatically play the last station you were listening to when you visit the site. I merely suggested a “which station would you like to play?” query during the load. Minutes later I got a direct message from Lucia saying she would present that suggestion to the team.

Now whether they do or not is only half the issue (well, maybe 65%). The main point is that they heard me and took the time to respond and acknowledge my suggestion. That makes a big impact on a user who – without question – has a lot of on and offline music options. Pandora’s advertisers should be pleased. And you should be looking into ways to engage with your customers. What ways are you providing for them to touch base with you?

Also, they should totally implement my suggestion.

(post updated to remove some annoying spelling errors)

Fleishman-Hillard Digital Adds One

What do the wrist watch, cable television and Luke Armour have in common? That’s right. Eventually they all go digital.

I’m happy to announce that starting June 3, yours truly will join the digital team of Fleishman-Hillard in Cleveland

Update: I thought I’d get a little more specific since I’ve been on the job for a week now. Part of FH’s commitment to digital is providing full-service and integrated digital media solutions across traditional, online, experiential and mobile channels. We provide social media counsel, training and outreach to and on behalf of our global clients. I was brought on, in part, for my experience with podcasting and blogging, but our work covers online communities, social networks and many other social media initiatives. My role is focused almost exclusively on helping to develop social media strategy and executing it. This is going to rock.

I’ve really been impressed with Fleishman’s commitment to digital communications the last few years and with the people on its team. Over the last few months I’ve had a chance to interact a bit more with some of the locals.

I’m pleased to be joining technomarketer Matt Dickman, tradigitalist Nader Ali-Hassan and Lynn Eastep, who is really her own adjective – and those are just the brainiacs in the Cleveland office. Fleishman has digital specialists located across North America, Europe and Asia, including strategists, developers, designers and online communications experts. I’m thrilled to be joining such a powerful team.

This will be my last week at BlogTalkRadio, but I’m sure to fire up The Rundown occasionally. I also want to thank the team at BlogTalkRadio for their friendship and opportunities. I wish them all the best of luck!

I’ve a bit of a drive ahead of me, so podcasters – you know who you are – get your call in lines ready.

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