May 06, 2006

Say What?

Replete with Doc's Feet.
Originally uploaded by dsearls.

May 05, 2006

The Three Musicteers

Doc, Dean and George had an amazing podtalk today which I hear will be up online soon. Doc and George were kindred spirits at SXSW that didn't get a chance to kindr enough. The things about Doc that I like so well remind me of the things about George that I like so well, and combined with those qualities, I can't wait to hear Dean's realworld stories from his radio days, and whatever it was that they seemed to talk forever about as George paced the driveway.

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Curiouser and Curoiuser - Sharing on MySpace

Just read that MySpace is blocking the sharing of photos using Buzznet. I'm wondering why it doesn't work, and why Buzznet photos are being blocked, when BubbleShare photo albums and slideshows on my MySpace profile work fine, as do Rojo's NooZ widget and Qumana's tags (which I'm kind of modifying for MySpace purposes because MySpace locks users into specific, not-very-meaningful tag choices. AKA, try this at home, kiddies, and burn down the kitchen!).

Is it a technology thing or a competition thing? I suspect the devils are in the tech-spec details. Can't wait to find out what's up.

Disclaimer: It's safe to assume that I work with just about everyone. I also admit to having been recently called the Yoda of MySpace.

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Stowe Scooped AlwaysOn OnHollywood

There were a dozens of hot stories, and hot shots, at AlwaysOn OnHollywood. I watched the live webcast, seeing how old friends and new would do, chuckling when Mike Arrington, clearly in need of a protein bar, but understandably "grumpy," asked, "but what do these companies DO? After six minutes, I should know what they DO," or some similar chair-shifting remark.

The snarky comments on the live webcast chat were, I admit, rather entertaining, especially at moments like this: "low blood sugar attack," "ugh oh!!" "well, he's right."

Watching the conference connectivity problems during the 'demos of a lifetime' for some startups was painful. But we onlookers marveled at folks who could think on their feet, as the banter reached a new high on the chat: "AlwaysOn meets AlwaysOff," and "NotQuiteOn," and "NotOnRightNow."

I'm telling you, this Internet thing is pretty fun sometimes.

But of all the stories in that sparkly city, of all the naked conversations captured in flickr pix and in posts, from realtime to aftertime, from prep to postmortem, it's Stowe's Other Other Blog that scooped the conference reports.

...I will think of her, asking me toppling questions, cascading from the banal into the most central issues of self in mere moments, as I turn my hand to whatever uncomfortably large idea I will midwife in the coming months. I will think of her, her form turned against the curve of the seat like a punctuation mark in a hidden but live language, her eyes large with expectation, urging me to come up with some turn of phrase, some insight that might transform the everyday into mythic archtypes. I will think of her, as I seek to understand the force that muses have on us, how a single question from one mouth, one look, one hour, could have such an influence.

This is what I care about.

You can wrap what we're doing with the Net in features and business models; you can invest in it and build exit strategies; you can have it in HTML, RSS, OPML, and LMOP. You can confer and cipher, talk about tags and 'the cloud,' and do deals poolside.

But none of that makes a story.

The Story belongs to Stowe, this Stowe, and the woman who helped him make meaning with a sentence, the tilt of her chin, an elbow resting on a chair.

The answer to everything.

Last night I was falling asleep, which is when I do my best thinking, but when I least often write things down. I was considering what we are doing here, and how, no matter the terms or decimals we cloak it in, we are still doing the same thing we have always done as human beings, on the net and off: We are making meaning.

And meaning is CONTEXT, not content.

Meaning does not know "consumer-generated."

Meaning is not generating, sharing, swapping, or search.

It is discovery.

Discovering is getting to know you.

Stowe nails what discovery feels like, when the human heart swells, quickens, and becomes vulnerable.

It's like that.

And Stowe gets it.

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For today's allied Google Referrers who searched on...

..."nigger pharmacist" and "what's wrong with black people," here's a big


And thanks for stopping by!

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Cingular - Goodbye Name I Once Kept In My Underwear Drawer

Om has a good post on the branding dilemma -- I guess one that has now been solved -- over what name and brand to leverage in the AT&T / Bellsouth / Cingular deal. I happen to agree with Om that the AT&T name makes a better umbrella brand. However, I wouldn't get rid of the Cingular sub-brand either. In other words, if AT&T is the body telco, then keeping Cingular as the funky feet makes sense.

But what do I know?

I do know that we'll be here again in ten years or less, when we assess the names of the diverse entities being spun out. It's all part of the cycle that we've been through before -- we roll in, then we spin out; we absorb, and then we expel -- it's the drama of economy. If marketing and PR didn't have re-branding to do, we'd have no work at all. Break it down: We build brands, stabilize brands, grow brands, and re-brand.

More importantly for me, the whole Cingular-name-going-away deal marks a kind of milestone, a passing of an era. That's because I was one of the first dozen or so people to know the name of the Cingular brand before it was launched, when it was so secret that my boss -- the head of the Ketchum Atlanta office which was tagged as the lead office in handling the launch -- gave it to me in his car on a piece of paper, then nearly had me escorted home under fear of death and mutilation lest I have a fender bender.

Mandate: Do not breath a word about the name, don't even say it out loud. Not to my family. Not to anyone. Seriously. Our jobs depended on it not being leaked.

Sounds melodramatic now, but I'm telling you, it was no joke at the time. This was the stealth beginning to a brand name and identity no one knew, except for the key team in the uber-secret meetings that put the C in singular and Jack on the map.

Why did I have to know? My job was to come up with some initial messaging around the name. As in, what did it mean. Why Cingular? Why not Singular. What did the "C" mean. What did the name mean? And I got to do that by myself. At home. In a little secret corner of my little secret room.

I had 9 bullets on a piece of paper and one name: cingular. In my head I played around with it and laughed, saying a hard "C" instead of a soft one: Kingular. hee hee. In the end, I did my job.

And I kept the secret. I hid that piece of paper my underwear drawer for a month before the name was officially out. I still have it somewhere.

Maybe now's a good time to put it on ebay?

Bye-bye, Jack.

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A Word on Corporate Sponsorship

Jenna and I really want to go to BlogHer this year.

I mean really.

For her, California is the land of dreams and Hollywood. For me, it's a chance to meet some of the folks I hold in such high esteem. Point is: neither of us has been further west than Austin. Hard to believe, maybe. I used to think the world ended at Lake Ontario to the north and Pennsylvania to the south, so Texas was quite the leap.

For SXSW, you may remember, I put out the call for a corporate sponsor to fund our trip - air/hotel/car - because we could not financially justify the $2K it would take to make that trip to go and speak on a panel for free. Like most independents, we operate on the net without a net, without expense accounts to bill back travel. It's a writeoff, yes, but cash flow issues are the common plague of the indie. No exception here.

We were humbled and thrilled when Qumana decided to sponsor our SXSW trip. I had been using "Q" for several months before that, and I am the kind of user who generally has some opinions and ideas about the products I use. Sometimes I'm even right. ;-)

And I enjoy writing about the space, because Qumana is, in my mind, a writer's tool first, a thinker's pad, a way to make it easier to get the thoughts from head to pixels so that I can do it more often and without having to take as many naps. You can quote me.

Was the sponsorship worth doing? I would defer to Jon Husband for Qumana's perspective. For me, I wish I could sponsor them right back--in fact I am sort of am in the way that works best, because I continue to use Qumana and provide insight, ideas, and sometimes even good jokes, to the folks there.

Most of all, the relationship post-sponsorship has deepened my appreciation and understanding of their organization, of them as people. As a group of people who get it, I can now say: I'd put my reputation on the line for you.

Independents don't say that often. And we probably shouldn't. It's not something I would be comfortable saying unless we spend some time together, unless that time is mutually rewarding, unless in some way both parties grow from it. I have.

Users are funny animals. We incorporate the things you make into the way we relate to the world, and often we use your products in ways you hadn't, in your wildest dreams--or nightmares--thought of. That's what makes us so endearing!

I was telling Jon last night by Skype how I found a new application for Google Maps. It goes like this:

I've decided not to rejoin the country club pool we've gone to for two years. It's too expensive, no matter how I slice and dice it; it's time to scale back. So my friend and I decided to join a subdivision pool this summer. Problem: Neither of our subdivisions have pools. Opportunity: In Atlanta, some subdivisions sell pool memberships to outside families for the summer. Challenge: Which subdivisions have pools, and where are they?

Are you with me? I know you are. I sat at my friend's computer, and using Google Maps, found our neighborhoods, then turned on Satellite to scan the landscape for in-ground pools. Oh, you can tell, believe me. A trampoline looks very different from a junior Olympic size pool.

Scroll, scroll, plus, minus, left, right.

Whenever we located a pool that looked sizeable, we'd layer on the Hybrid map to get the street coordinates. From street names, we could generally tell the subdivision name, at which point I'd go to a new window and look up the subdivision and homeowner's association in Google search mode to see if we could get a phone number.

We found a pool--it looks awesome and it's 1/4 of cost.

That's a long way of saying, where the user has a will, she'll find a way.

But Enough with the vignettes.

BlogHer is quickly approaching, and I will be announcing a sponsorship opportunity to send Jenna and I to California. It's sort of like Stowe's Clothes, except without the clothes, although get us some T-shirts and they'll become part of our fashion statement. ;-)

Hell, we'll even do caps.

Is your fancy tickled?

Good. More soon!

Thank You, Qumana

May 04, 2006

Deal Row

OnHollywood pix--got trunks under those suits?
Makin' Deals Row (poolside)
Originally uploaded by Eric Rice.

Bloggers in Love SXSW Panel Podcast AND Blogging While Black SXSW Panel Podcasts Are UP!

Hey, we made the Honor Roll! The Bloggers in Love panel made the top 20 in terms of audience reviews, so it must have been fun, eh? EH?

So, you prolly want to know what we said... well, you can! Get thee to the podcast page today. Two great podcasts just went up. Listen to BWB too--I have and it's awesome.

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May 03, 2006

Amber Alert or Web 2.0?

I-75 Meets Giant Steps

Tom on our talk. It was more than sort of like that.

In part, which shouldn't be done, but so as not to spoil seeing it at tom's house, only in part:

burning curious longing all about to get to MySpace, aolized internet, strongly yearning for what releasizes her fluently in herspace here there on cyberhighway of pulse words she asks whatwhy are we doing this and we do not have an answer she doesn't pause

I NooZed it in Myspace.

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I want an A&R Gig? Or: Genie, Make Me a Human Exchange!

So there's a sweet spot, i know it, in the intermediary role, for a short time, between what/who is inside myspace and what/who are not. transactions will take place there, in that in between place, half way between here and there. they already are.

And myspace is just one kind of social intranet.

SO, right then, another sweet spot making matches ACROSS various social intranets..

what do i mean by sweet spot? you can call it a mission, or you can call it money.

stavros forgive me. if not us, then what--them?

p.s, bro, how's it hanging? glad all is okay. i was worried. Which brings me to this: Guys, examine the jewels today, okay? And think of the wonderchicken. Because we blogmamas care about you.

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The Myspace Music I Dig So Far

So I've been in myspace three days now. I'm not saying I've found everyone, but here are some of my new favorite artists I didn't know three days ago. These are not the most linked to folks. I like em.

Meilana Gillard - sax - she is 24. sound of an old soul. hello, wtf?
Martin Luther - song: Rise - what-a-voice
Laura Khale - trumpet - aaaah!!!!
Burden Hand - okay?
Saul Williams. - hmmm/
Ledisi - souleyisious
Janelle Headley - just purdy.
Kai Eckhardt - techniqueorama
Oscar Jordan - comeonthen!
Mr. Eric Gales from Memphisssss
Patience Clements - lady. can. write.
Rich Eagle -  3 words - i'd sign him. he's active duty army too. hello A&R boys? Anyone home?

Okay, have to work now. More later--maybe I'll keep adding to it. I haven't gotten to the poetry yet.

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May 02, 2006

What Is Myspace? The Internet's Intranet

It's all about circles and cycles and what comes and goes around and comes and goes around. Isn't it? Tom and I were talking, for a minute as he helped me through a traffic meltdown, about the re-AOLizing of the net, and how so much has changed, how we used to look at AOLers like trapped mini-zoo animals, right?

But what's so different about Myspace then? Well it IS different because now we can have our open space--AND our closed spaces too--essentially, have our net and our cake too.

For me at least, it's different. I'm going in from having already been on the outside, not being tossed out into a big bad world from the inside (like the old AOLers). It's like being on the Web at work and then using the corporate intranet to drilldown into specifics.

Now we have our social intranets. and i guess this is no big news, unless you're me, wondering why all the other 99 and 100 year olds on myspace didn't tell me sooner about ALL THE FUCKING MUSIC AND POETRY AND SHIT... ;-)

Hi Ray!

cross posted in myspace.

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April 30, 2006

Are you on myspace? Am I?

Am I the last one on? Is this third life? Or 1.5 life?

Or no life?

Want to be my friend?

I am proud to have turned the proper noun Internet into a past-tense verb.

Today I internet. Yesterday interneted.

so, that's me. on myspace. interneted.

Hey, you try to find a name that hasn't been taken.

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Smart people, you know like really really smart people?

they scare me.

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