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Conversational Marketing in the Age of Social Media

Archive for June, 2008

Strategies for Blogging


I find people like Jeremiah Owyang a true inspiration– for his originality, innovation and sticked-to-it-ness. Jeremiah is a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research’s Social Computing and focuses on Social Computing for the Interactive Marketer. He’s been writing the widely successful Web Strategy Blog which celebrates its second birthday this month. In a recent post, Jeremiah describes his blog strategy.

In particular here’s what I like most about Jeremiah’s focus:

  • Creating “how to” posts which can serve as a resource
  • Budgeting time in the morning through “paying himself first” by researching, reading, and writing blog posts…before “diving into email hell”
  • Joining in the conversation on newer and older posts
  • Developing mainstay type posts (e.g. his digest series, index lists and on the move series which he says helps to reduce his time coming up with constant original ideas)
  • Having passion about his web strategy work
  • At the end of Jeremiah’s post he asks “So what’s the future to hold? Well for one, I’m starting to ask people to follow me on Friendfeed.”

    To be honest my immediate reaction was—oh no, not another thing I have to keep up with! But I got over it fairly quickly. Hey, we can jump into Friendfeed together.

    P,S. If you’re already using it, we’re curious–what are your impressions of Friendfeed?

I'm with Stupid

I'm with StupidYesterday I was arm distance away from The Atlantic Monthly’s July/August issue, and stopped dead in my tracks; eye level with the magazine, I read the title of the cover story, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr.

Carr writes, the Net is “chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

I think I know what Carr means. My mind is often running ahead of me calling, “Hurry!!!” Come to think of it, sometimes I think I’m looking for hyperlinks where they don’t exist; I’m searching for twists and turns to unexpected destinations.

I google everything-people, places, directions, current events, history, restaurant reviews, movie times, businesses, store hours, physician’s credentials, conferences, research, authors’ bios, how-to unclog a drain, recipe ideas…you name it.

The Internet has made information wonderfully accessible, and I love it. I do. I love being an online tourist in the wee morning hours, or as a night owl. I love knowing there are people all over the world accessing information in different time zones, but essentially at the same exact moment. I love seeing the keywords people enter, how others search for information.

I think Carr’s question is a good one. I think his concerns about online reading shouldn’t be dismissed. But for me, reading online or with a book or magazine in hand, are two different things. While I love the online world, there’s still nothing like discussing a good book, hearing an author read, perusing bookstores and libraries, looking words up in a dictionary and thesaurus. And I may be one of a handful of people who actually like the Dewey Decimal system (and not know why).

I’d like to suggest Google and the Internet as a whole, have made us more efficient, smarter users of information, and have exposed us to an even larger world to be read.   And, if that translates to Google making us stupid, well then I guess, I’m with stupid.

Already Living Web 2.0

Demo Pavilion Enterprise 2.0 Conference Boston, June 2008

Last week as I walked around the Demo Pavilion at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, sales reps wooed me with all kinds of fun paraphernalia, you know those conference goodies you can’t resist. Of course, there were also white papers, glossy one-page flyers, and business cards.

Enterprise 2.0 Conference Demo Pavilion

There were some great Enterprise 2.0 software applications from an impressive list of exhibitors. After seeing seven demonstrations they became a blur. If you want to know the truth, the interfaces didn’t look very different from one another. But the programs were very cool, bringing together blogs, wikis, and social networks, and more–in one desktop view.

During the last demonstration, the rep gave the best wrap-up of the day. “Voila”, he said. “You see– it’s all one big mashup!”

In his book, How to Do Everything with Web 2.0 Mashups, Jesse Fieler defines mashup like this:

“…a mashup is generally categorized by presenting specific information without forcing the user to click through various screens and urls. The mashup, not the user, performs the synthesis of the data so everything is presented at once. One way of describing mashups is to think of them as managing complexity.”

The rep’s comment got me thinking–most of us have been using mashups more and more in our daily lives, sometimes without realizing it. Amazon, eBay, Flickr, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and YouTube are common every day examples. Or when you click on the video on for breaking news, storm watch on for the latest weather forecast, or video traveler on tripadvisor to see the places you want to visit.

There was a lot of discussion at the conference about the naysayers back at the office who take the “no use” for web 2.0 position, and they’re not ready for social media in the workplace. I think If you were to stop and look at your day, you’re probably using more applications then you realize!

Tell me again, why wouldn’t web 2.0 and social media streamline how you live and think at work?

The Inevitability of Enterprise 2.0

enterprise 2.0 conference signageI had the honor of attending sessions at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston this week; and I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like putting together a large crowd of people who are all excited about social media and web 2.0 technologies.

I immediately got a sense of who I was with when I walked into a large conference room and saw rows upon rows of people balancing laptops on their laps, many turning to their neighbors to ask for the third wireless access code– the other codes already being swamped by users. In the front of the room the loop of slides promoted coverage of the Enterprise 2.0 Conference blog, encouraging participants to join in the wiki, and to tag their photos “enterprise 2.0″ when they add them to Flickr.

Within minutes of leaving a session, blog posts were published about the presentations and photos and videos of the speakers were already ready for viewing. New media consultant, David Spark, has written some excellent summaries and top learnings which are posted on the Enterprise 2.0 Conference Blog. I encourage taking the time to read them.

I share the observation David expressed in his statement, “The overall sentiment I’m getting from all the attendees and from all the sessions I’ve attended is that enterprise 2.0 is not there yet, but it’s going to happen, it’s inevitable.”

The enterprise 2.0 tools (which embody blogs, wikis, youtube-like videos, forums, facebook and linked-in like profiles, podcasts etc.) offer improvements and solutions to enhance communication and collaboration. The question really is-why wouldn’t we use them?

Think about it:

  • Can you imagine a workday without the need to communicate with co-workers, customers, partners by email or voicemail?
  • Or sending an attachment of your report, meeting re-cap, and asking someone to review and comment on it?
  • Are there bottlenecks in your email in-box?
  • Would it enhance your communication if you could see or hear the person you’re communicating with in another location or time zone in live time, or via video or podcast?

The Emerging Workplace & Web 2.0

Spark writes in his summary, “Young people entering the workforce communicate with Web 2.0 tools. They want more than just email.” Along that note a couple of the things I heard Pete Fields, eBusiness Director, of Wachovia Corporation say that resonated with me was:

In 2008, 25% of the American workforce are Gen Y, and by the year 2014, they will compose 47% of our workforce as baby-boomers leave the workforce.

Regarding baby-boomers, Fields also suggested, “We need to mitigate the impact of a maturing workforce by capturing their knowledge assets and contributions….wiki’s and blogs are great tools to use to connect people.”

Do you believe Enterprise/Web 2.0 is inevitable? If yes, what steps are you already taking? If no, what’s holding you back?

Blogging for Smarties

cartoon of shakespeare deciding whether to blogIt was in the upper 90s the other day here in Boston and to get out of the sun while I was waiting to meet a friend, I ducked into one of my favorite bookstores, Brookline Booksmith.

On the bottom shelf of the computer section (yes, I do browse computer books) was one of those For Dummies books, this one all about blogging, Blogging for Dummies. After I read the front and back cover, I did what I almost always do– look for the publication date. As you well know, the world of technology changes every second, and computer books can become outdated while you’re standing on the check-out line.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn it is the second edition of the book and launched in February 2008– and even more delighted to discover what a great resource it is.

If you’re new to Blogging, or even if you’ve been around for awhile, there’s a lot of information packed into this book. The authors, Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley, practice what they preach and maintain a blog with some informative posts. They also know how to do some great viral marketing– the table of contents and first chapter are available online in pdf format.

Let’s get back to my point about books becoming out-dated. I should clarify that there are always some great classics on a topic like blogging, one being Blog Marketing by Jeremy Wright published in 2006. In chapter 5, “What type of blogs are best for your company,” the author discusses the top seven types of business blogs and personalities who he describes as– The Barber, The Blacksmith, The Bridge, The Window, The Signpost, The Pub, and The Newspaper.

Seven Types of Business Bloggers

I love Wright’s examples:

  • The Barber as a prominent citizen, who knows the people and has wisdom from years of listening to customers.
  • The Blacksmith, knows the industry and is typically inside a company and is thus hammering industry and opinion through the company forge.
  • The Bridge, a blogger who makes connections, influences and helps bring people together.
  • The Window blogger similar to the blacksmith who works in the company, but this type of blogger talks about things inside and outside the company.
  • The Signpost blogger doesn’t share her opinions, instead points out cool things of interest in her industry.
  • The Pub blogger creates discussions designed to bring in people from all spectrums of a particular issue to talk through something.
  • The Newspaper blogger functions in many ways like a journalist-attempting to do more reporting then opining, doing her best to stick to the facts.

Okay, I’m going to be the voice of the Signpost blogger here and tell you my opinion, I think smart businesses embrace writing and reading blogs!

And like a good Pub blogger I’m going to create a discussion here and ask you– what you think about the role of blogging in business? If you’re already a blogger which of Wright’s personality types best matches your blogging style? Or if you’re starting out, who do you hope to be?

Navigating the Web 2.0 World

Nearly every day I find myself encountering new Web 2.0 related terms, sites or tools. I admit it…at times it can still be overwhelming. I’ve found it helpful to keep a running list of sites I find of interest – particularly when it comes to B2B marketing. Last I checked, my Web 2.0 favorites list was approaching the 20-mark.

I recently, however, learned that the folks at GoToWeb2.0 have done something similar – although to a much greater degree. They’ve created a 259-page document on available Web 2.0 sites and tools. The document, entitled “A Comprehensive Directory to a ton of social networking sites” represents much more than social networking sites. The detailed listing of Web 2.0 tools can help you both operate and market your business.

Some of my favorite tools in the Directory, which are listed with site links and descriptions include:

  • GritWire can help you organize your feeds, content and other daily web reading all in one place.
  • AskItOnline is an online tool that allows you to efficiently create surveys and have others take them.
  • Serph is a tool to help you track the “buzz” about whatever and whomever you want.
  • Skrbl is a web whiteboard that allow you to write, see, edit and share notes.

Please share other Web 2.0 tools you’ve found useful.

What’s Your Social Media Profile?

Profile/Negative Space by 1000 watt dream It’s not as simple as it used to be. There’s a new generation of typing going on out there—Social Technographic profiles. Forrester Research coined the term which refers to how people use social technologies. It’s really quite intriguing.

Ways to Participate in Social Media

There are six classifications:

  1. Creators— make social content go. They write blogs or upload video, music, or text.
  2. Critics—respond to content from others. They post reviews, comment on blogs, participate in forums, and edit wiki articles.
  3. Collectors—organize content for themselves or others using RSS feeds, tags, and voting sites like
  4. Joiners—connect in social networks like MySpace and Facebook.
  5. Spectators—consume social content including blogs, user-generated video, podcasts, forums, or reviews.
  6. Inactives—neither create nor consumer social content of any kind.

Forrester has a great tool where you can specify age, country, and gender to get an idea of how people participate in social technologies.

What about you? How could your social technographic profile be best described ? We know you aren’t inactive because you’re reading this post! Seriously, we’d like to know– do you create social content, collect it, join in it, watch it?

Is Forrester’s social technographic profile a good representation of you?

Credits: Profile/Negative Space by 1000 watt dream

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