Thursday, August 6, 2009

I don't have to like everything about you

11 Cloned Men Went To Mow, Went To Mow A Meadow !Image by Bobasonic via Flickr

Chris is a gamer and writes about it on his blog. A lot. I'm not a gamer, so I don't care. So in essence, I have to "put up with" Chris' writing about gaming.

Tyler likes to rant on his blog. A lot. I don't have the same passions as he does, so I don't care. So in essence, I have to "put up with" Tyler's ranting on issues that aren't important to me.

Teel loves to post long-winded personal exposes on his blog. A lot. As I only want to see where he's at with his latest project, I don't care about those posts. So in essence, I have to "put up with" super long posts just to get what I want.

But here's the bottom line: I don't tell them about what I don't like. The last thing I want is for them only to be, do and write the things I like 100% of the time. That's... boring. In reality, I'm not "putting up with" any of it from any of them. I'm letting them be who they are. Who they want to be. Occasionally -- often, in fact -- what they want and what I want align perfectly. And I quickly forget all those other things I didn't care about before.

In the immortal words of Billy Joel:

Don't go changing, to try and please me,
You never let me down before,
Don't imagine, you're too familiar,
And I don't see you anymore.

I would not leave you, in times of trouble,
We never could have come this far,
I took the good times, I'll take the bad times,
I'll take you just the way you are.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Next Big Thing

What's Next?Image by Crystl via Flickr

On Sunday, I was interviewed by a reporter for the Phoenix New Times. I've done a fair share of interviews over the years, and you never know how the final piece will turn out. Sometimes the journalist has a slant, sometimes things get edited down to just sound bites, and sometimes quote are taken entirely out of context. All of that has happened to me in the past. But I don't sweat it. It is what it is. Not to say I think that the PNT piece will be anything other than spot on. I'm #justsayin'...

During the interview, the following question came up:

"What's going to replace Twitter".

I think that question has an unknowable answer. And not just because we can't predict the future. But because we don't know what we need -- yet. Before Twitter, none of us knew we needed an web/SMS/IM mashup that limited you to 140 characters.

Before Flickr, we assumed you had to know HTML and FTP in order to share your photos with family and friends.

Before Facebook, we didn't know that we needed private profiles, or that value was to be had allowing fellow students and co-workers access to said profiles.

Before YouTube, we didn't know we could create mini-movies and get them to our friends with ease and speed, so they could spread them around for us.

So the question of what's going to replace Twitter is as silly as it is unknowable. I use all of the networks above. Neither one replaces the other. Sure, I could use Photobucket, MySpace, Vimeo, or Dodgeball, but I don't. Yet plenty do. They don't need to switch to my tools, and I don't need to switch to theirs. They get the same benefits I get with my preferred tools.

So don't try and build a "twitter killer". Try and build something entirely new that lets me do things my current toolbox won't. That's going to be The Next Big Thing.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Going beyond takedown notices

Chris Brown Click to Buy Ad on Jill Peterson a...Image by stevegarfield via Flickr

It's an understatement to say that digital publishing causes concerns for traditional publishers. Having a digital version of media available -- regardless of who did the digitizing -- effectively eliminates the control of distribution. Digital files are inherently copyable and sharable, and any business model that relies on the prevention of digital files being copied is doomed to fail.

A much better expenditure of energy is answering this question: what new methods of compensation can be created that allows monies to flow to the rights-holders? Take the case of R&B star Chris Brown. His song "Forever" was the inspiration behind the Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz's wedding party video that has had over 14 million views on YouTube -- so far. Chris received no direct compensation for these plays, as he would have had they been played on MTV, radio or other "traditional" distribution venues that pay into various clearinghouses and ultimately compensate rights-holders for airtime.

Not long ago, Chris' (or more likely the label that owns the rights to the song) only recourse would have been to exercise his copyright and demand YouTube take down the offending video. Yes, there could also have been a suit filed against the couple due to copyright infringement. It's been done before. But that's not what happened.

Instead, Chris (or his label) was able to monetize the views on YouTube, thanks to some innovative thinking on the part of YouTube. You can read about the short case study here. Is this the be-all-end-all solution? Nope. But it's smart. And it shows a new type of thinking that embraces the digital work, rather than attempting to shut down a Good Thing.

Let creative people create. Let rights-holders monetize those creations. Seems a win-win to me. What do you think?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is your blog missing these 2 critical personal branding features?

branding iron 3Image by robalicious via FlickrBlogging has become ubiquitous. Sites like & make it easy for anyone to start blogging. And there's no shortage of pros telling you how to do it better.

But before you embark on a journey of self-education, you'll want to fix two things that many bloggers get horribly, terribly wrong. Two simple things. Two simple things that you've overlooked for a long time. You can thank me later.

Pull your blog up in a fresh browser window or tab. DO NOT follow any links. Just sit there... and look at it. Hopefully with fresh eyes.

Forget who you are. Forget what you are trying to achieve. Forget the template you have (or have not) customized to your liking.

Just look for these two things:

  1. What is the name of the person writing this blog? Your first name isn't sufficient, unless you happen to be named Madonna. I want your name. Your full name that you are branding. Don't make me guess. Don't try and be cute and/or aloof. Your name, please.

  2. Is there an obvious contact method? And no, listing out the 19 different social media sites you frequent doesn't count. I'm talking about normal ways people thing to contact other people. Email. Phone. These items need not be front and center, but an obvious path to these items must be visible.

Do you have these two things, these two very simple and painfully obvious things, "above the fold" (visible without scrolling) on your blog? If not, then you're not ready for the "advanced" lessons you'll find in all the other tips. Get those two critical elements on your blog. Now. It is the single most important personal branding thing you can do for your blog today.

A free Social Media Triage™ tip. Want to experience the full Social Media Triage treatment customized for you? It's about more than just blogging. Check here for more details.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Asperger's for the social networking crowd?

quito street preacherImage by august allen via FlickrTime for me to make up a new word:

Sociatize (soh-shit-IZE): verb, transitive. The act of converting any event into a social networking opportunity.

Let's say you found out members of your book club were going to a movie you didn't want to see. You wouldn't go along with them, sitting and reading your book in the corner with a flashlight, right?

Let's say you found out that members of your knitting circle were going out to eat sushi. You're not a fan of sushi, but you wouldn't show up at the restaurant and knit while others were eating.

Let's say a drinking buddy of yours goes to church every Sunday. You would never show up at his church and offer him a beer.

Commonly accepted rules of human interaction dictate that you not behave in the above manners. You're at the movies. Watch the movie. You're at a restaurant. Eat. You're at church. Don't drink. Sure, you can hang out and chat while you are there (well, not so much at the movies or church, but you get the idea), but you primary function at the event is to participate in the event.

Some social networking enthusiasts forget this.

There are plenty of events for SM people to be very social. To be very chatty. #evfn is an event like this. The primary purpose is to hang out with people and talk. That's it. Oh, and to have a drink or two if you are so inclined. There are legions of events like these. I love to attend them.

But I also like to attend non-social networking events. And if my social networking friends are also in attendance, I'd like them to be participating in the event, too. Watch the event. Listen to the event. Be in the moment of the event. Resist the temptation to sociatize the event. And if the event isn't your cup of tea; don't go. Missing one more chance to interact with your social media circle isn't going to harm anyone. Better yet, it gives you one more thing to ask us about when you see us at the next social event.

I'm off to make up more words. You sit there and wonder if I'm talking about you. Don't make me get the duct tape.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

The fine line between false praise and encouragement

one. ugly. monkey.Image by berbercarpet via FlickrThere exists a fine line between false praise and encouragement.

Encouragement is necessary. It provides a positive support while someone is either exploring their creativity of improving their craft. No one is instantly good at anything, so we all naturally go through a development process in anything that we do.

But unlike encouragement, false praise halts development. It incorrectly leads people to believe that they are at the top of their game, and that no further improvements are necessary.

I see this happen all to often in the new media sphere. It's as if some special pass is given. Some bar has been lowered. A general understanding that is simply can't be as good as "traditional" media. And since it can't, then we should have our own devalued sense of quality.

To speak frankly for a moment: fuck that.

I don't think new media has anything to prove to anyone. I think there is plenty of room for huge variations in quality. And I fully understand that we're often examining qualitative aspects. And yes, there is plenty of low quality stuff on the radio, TV, movies, theaters and more. New media shouldn't strive to be traditional media.

In fact, we need to lose those labels for moment. Let's talk about media. And let's use the same scales.

Was the last podcast you were on "one of the finest you've ever been on", or was it simply good? Was that last free book you listened to "better than anything I can buy at the store", or just a good yarn? Was there nothing worthy of fixing? Did they nail it on all points? And are you being honest?

I hereby dub 2009 The Year of Honest Criticism. Wanna join me? Note that this doesn't mean I'll be trashing everything I dislike. I'm not that big of a new media douchebag. But will be giving honest feedback when it's asked for, and I'll moderate my own enthusiasm for things, relying less on superlatives and hyperbole. Reality. Whoa.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

In praise of shortness

the shortness #2Image by noneck via FlickrThere's something to be said for a short show. My podcast listening enjoyment has increased 10 fold by:

All short. All concise. All worthy additions to your podcast playlist. What short shows (less than 10 minutes) do you recommend?

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