July 07, 2007

stumbling upon

writing resources -- good comprehensive set of links.

Quiting Smoking Timeline -- feeling good now but better when I hit 5 years.

Singing Horses -- did they have to?

Collaborative Magnetic Poetry
-- and why not?

I am loving this whole thing, but could stumbleupon please let us blog these finds directly to our external blogs?


Pay Per Pownce

Well this is interesting.

Of course the need to belong has always been "monnnneeetizzzable" -- but marry ebay with invites to the latest social network Pownce, and you stand to gain a cool five bucks in cash as long as the market holds--which may be a matter of minutes or days, anyone's guess.

Bloggers tend to get all up in arms and holier than thou when this type of thing happens. They slam the service that has generated the sneaky sub-business. They slam anyone 'stupid enough' to pay the five bucks or a penny (or the current high $2.00 bid) to get in. And they who do so are usually the ones with the a sackful of invites.

Me? I say go for it. You wanna list em for sale? List away. You want to spend a dollar or more to get in, go for it. It's easy to game the system either way. It won't last long. But I love me some market ingenuity wherever it happens to grow, and however short lived.

BTW, first person to comment gets a free Pownce invite.

And for the record, I think it's the most interesting network to pop up since flickr because of the p2p aspect that flickr initially had (before it became a photo sharing site).


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July 06, 2007

Move over SEO, It's Time for SAO

Before Search, and its cousin Search Engine Optimization, became the multi-billion-dollar industry of today, we spent our time surfing the Web, mostly amazed to find any sites that we could make use of, and especially surprised when search results returned a site that was actually something we were looking for.

Although the value and the "game" of getting companies nearest the top of first-page search results began several years ago in earnest, the Twitters and Pownces and YouTubes and FaceBooks of the world were still mere strings of code in their creators' loins at that time.

Ewww. Okay. That was uncalled for.

Nonetheless, in looking across the social software landscape, the sites and widgets and tools, the companies and indie soloists, the nomads and pirates, we can see the opportunity for companies to engage in social spaces -- to find new ways to interact with their customers, partners, and the watching world -- without making a pain of themselves. The strategy and programs around creating an integrated presence across social sites, using social tools, and interacting in positive ways with constituents, is something I'm calling Social Application Optimization (SAO).

A year ago, among online marketers' clients' top requests was a desire to engage with key demographics on MySpace, to spread to Friendster, and perhaps to participate in Second Life by hosting an event there.

Today, the opportunity for gaining visibility in gathering places across the web has increased as quickly as the number and sorts of places people are tending to gather. When it was just websites and blogs, things were easy. Now we have King MySpace, Queen FaceBook, YouTube, Friendster, Pownce, Bebo, LinkedIn, BuzzNet, Twitter, Flickr, Orkut, StumbleUpon, Tribe, various virtual worlds like Second Life, hybrid platforms like Kaneva, and more nearly every day.

Nearly every company is chomping at the bit to leverage marketing and PR opportunities on these sites that are aggregating so many people.

  • Most of these spaces don't want businesses there.
  • Many have rules against businesses creating profiles.
  • Social participants don't want to be bothered or spammed--and the ramifications of businesses jumping in the wrong way (just as we saw with blogs) are long-lasting and costly.
  • How can you be "everywhere"? Should you be "everywhere"?
  • If not, which sites are the best fit?
  • How does a company interact with customers, partners, and the watching world without pissing them off? In ways that actually HELP?
The first myth that needs busting is that businesses shouldn't be or aren't participating in these sites. Whether it's against the terms of service or not, they are. They will be. There is not shutting them out as long as they dare to be creative. Besides, we want them there as long as they don't mess things up.

Add to that busted myth the fact that most of these social sites have a large population of indie web solists, technology developers, and entrepreneurs who act as small businesses themselves, and we can do away with the "individuals only" notion of social spaces. Commerce is part of the social fabric. It's all in the how.

So how should companies use social spaces to increase visibility and touchpoints with customers and potential customers, with partners and potential new hires? What is enough visibility without becoming obnoxious? Which sites are right for which kind of businesses and activities?

There is no single right answer, and that's where SAO comes in. Simply put, Social Application Optimization is making the most of a company's presence across social applications in concert with tools, technology and social participants themselves. It is giving businesses maximum visibility and brand exposure through positive interactions with social participants.

Okay it's late. And I'm writing this on the fly. Can you tell? In keeping with that theme, let's say there's a party and people are standing around talking and laughing and drinking punch, an analog variation of a digital gathering.

Let's say there are also three flies on the wall at this party. The first fly on the wall gets wind of the desert tray and is buzzing all in the face of the party goers trying to eat some cake. Everyone is swatting at this fly, and when someone finally nails it with a towel, there's a collective, "Yeah!"

There's another fly on the wall and he stays on the wall. He doesn't move, and no one notices him much, but that fly learns a lot about people.

Then there's another fly on the wall. It sees a group of women having an animated, joyous conversation, until a tipsy barely-grown man, who has obviously hit hard on the punch, wanders into the group and tries to take over the conversation, stumbling into two of the members. The third fly buzzes over and dive bombs the guy's finely coiffed hair until it drives him away swatting at his head. The group lets out a collective, "Yeah!"

You get it. There are different "yeah"s online, and the one that reflects a positive connection between two entities is the point of opportunity where the businesses can help/enable/empower (there I said it!) people to do something they wanted to get done anyway, whether or not they were thinking about getting it done ten minutes prior.

Of course another way for busineses to help social participants is to simply not get in their way. Watch and learn. Participate but Wait. Then offer soft goods -- offer humor, or offer entertainment, or offer to continue to stay out of the way.

Like I said, it's late and I'm going on. I can do that sometimes.

So instead of winding this up with more paragraphs about insects, I'll shut up and let the flies have the floor.


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Euan Me

Euan Semple decided to send invites to stumble upon to me and 1,000 other close friends (check out the comments--some funny replies there from Euan's good natured "spammed friends"). Needless to say, ADD-like wanderlust ensued for various parts of the day. Musicovery and Refrigerator Poetry have been particularly fun. Firefox made the toolbar install easy. I wish their profile pages were more social. And a big plus would be to be able to "blog this" find or in some other way have linkage between your blog there and your other blogs and social sites.

More and more I think we will be writing in apps like Qumana and publishing to multiple sites--especially when these tools can cross social sites or use RSS to shape-shift our writing (also knowns as content), breaking it down into particles to send it across our social spheres and recomposing it in the style/form/look-and-feel appropriate for each venue. There's no reason I can't pull a twitter out of the same blog post I'm posting here and designate the last half of it in some Funky Font with emoticons to blast over to MySpace (once it's open--it will be), FaceBook, Friendster, Pownce, LinkedIn, Stumble Upon, Allied, Blog Sisters, all of em.

I have more to say on this stuff--just too little time and energy.

SO that's a round about way of saying, Thanks Euan!


Famous future reply to the question, "How did you find our site?"

"Euan did it."


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Single Frame Book Reviews

July 05, 2007

Apple should listen

No one is more of a gadget-and-application guru in the blogworld than Denise. When she says something should work a certain way, then a company would do well to say yes ma'am and thank you. Even if that company is Apple.


you get what you need

There's a beautiful post over at AKMA's place about dreams delayed, dreams-yet-to-be-realized and dreams that don't seem like dreams-come-true, but must be just that, because without them, life would be no dream at all.
I keep a fortune-cookie slip in my wallet. It reads, “Your dream will come true when you least expect it.” Let’s bracket, for the moment, the question of whether there’s any sane reason to take fortune-cookie slips seriously; we know there isn’t, and we know that we do anyway.
read on.

July 04, 2007

been up still up

just trying to find a way to pass the time since I'm not able to sleep with this bronchitis + sinusitis combo. just trying to think positive.

July 03, 2007

independence from smoking day

hello friends. thank you. tomorrow is three years without a cigarette, a day which I am marking with a case of mucus-heavy bronchitis, a case not nearly as severe or frequent as in the "old days." That is thanks to saying goodbye to the pack. Thanks to you all again for keeping me honest.



have a good day off.

July 02, 2007

happy birthday marek

for you, the poem i wrote for your birthday way back when ...

1:30 a.m. Birthday Poem for Marek

Pick up the bat,
chipped wood offering slivers,
feel them break the skin
cut my palm and the
creases where my fingers bend.
Little bit of blood never hurt

Walk the streets, hungry for
something to make sense,
Find myself there
without knowing when or how,
See the red convertible
parked to perfection, six inches
from the curb, outside
the overdone estate
that son of a bitch CEO
calls home.

The glare off the hood
screams at me from
across the street
alarms going off
in my head
RUN you stupid

With my bat I have
only wishes and dreams
no one and everyone knows.
I cross the street slowly, take in
the chrome wheels and
flawless finish, glaring,
mocking me.

Before I lift it
high above my head
I don't think: and then what?
I bring it down with the force
of fire, speed of wind,
feel the connection
the windshield give way,
and then
shatter into snow
that rains
on the pavement in
a rainbow tapestry
of joy.


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never let me rap, okay?

It's just NOT a good idea.

workin through it

July 01, 2007

ATL ain't the valley

SO our first friend has an iPhone, and he was talking to George about his wait at Lenox Mall in Buckhead Friday--maybe an hour's wait total (heehee). He talked about how guys were trying to sell their spots in line. "Hey man I'm number six in line; I'll sell you my spot for $500." As time to entry got closer, the price dropped. Line occupant number 16 offered his spot up for a scant c-note. I don't know if he had any takers. But you play that game enough times, you might actually be able to afford an iPhone.