LiveBlog Interact08, cont’d: Creativity

Posted 29, September, 2008 by Craig Stoltz
Categories: media, social media, social networks, Web 2.0

Tags: , ,

Pith load from panel on creativity

“Creativity is not being a designer or programming, it’s the ability to solve a problem.”

Joanna Champagne, National Gallery of Art, on government use of social media

In process of expanding digital programs. Why not still use the “best architects” in the digital program? We want a website that does the same thing.

Must be true to the spirit of our founding…Andrew Mellon! How do we make the digital world that’s. . .as solid and fundamental? He said: “This is a new relationship between paint and stone.” We want to give the gift again in the digital world.

Website hasn’t been touched in 10 years. How to be true to the mission in the digital environment? Ideas:

Pilot and Play. It opens doors, sounds unthreatening.

Launched a mobile tool, a cellphone tour, to learn where the audience is geographically–and to provide a remote way to tour the museum. “Endears” people to the collection.

Example two: Interactive tables–touchscreen in the midst of the exhibition hall.

Iterate until you have enough successes to win support.

Be Yourself Online. Even for government organizations.

Postal service site is “gorgeous,” partnered with John Adams and Star Wars. Department of Education also very good. “Improve morale” as image of agency is transformed via consumer-facing web.

Leave the Building. Hard to get outside the office.

Put reprints outside on walls to literally get out of building.

Use Facebook. So many museum sites on Facebook–it’s become a forum for museum insiders to connect and share good ideas.

Nick Law, Creativity in the Digital Age

Two examples of leveraging user involvement with technology to elevate the brand experience. User-generated shoes, online. Not a matter of art director and copy writer going off somewhere. It’s about creating an interface–needs to be emotional, have brand texture to it.

NikePlus: Links music [iPod], athletics [running], technology [sensor in shoe] and social community [web interface for events, personal information, real-time dialog, sharing information, post-race creativity]. 780,000 ran a 10k with NikePlus, linking this all.


LiveBlog Interact08: Marketing with Social Web

Posted 29, September, 2008 by Craig Stoltz
Categories: social networks, Web 2.0

Tags: , ,

Ripe quotes from Brian Williams, Viget Labs

“Your product is your marketing campaign.” For instance: Google, iPhone

Your business, whether you like it or not, is accessible, transparent, and authentic. Even if the only presence on the web is from a disgruntled employee from two years ago–that’s your business.

How to get aboard? Unleash your inner geek: Just jump on, sign up for Twitter. It’s changing constantly. But at least you need to understand what this space is like.

For businesses, “De-specialize.” Everybody needs to participate in social engagement online.

From John Bell, Ogilvy PR, 360 degree Digital Experience

“The Attention Crash”–people fatigued by new, multiple technologies. How do you drink from the firehose without drowning? Give yourself a certain amount of time each week for experimentation.

Need for constant, fast internal training. Things move so fast it has to be regular. [Now trying “Yammer,” Twitter for the enterprise.]

Ted Leonsis, Part 2

Posted 29, September, 2008 by Craig Stoltz
Categories: social networks, Web 2.0

Tags: , ,

I had a chance to ask Leonsis a couple of questions:

How can the social web help during the current economic crisis?

His new investment, Revolution Money, will reduce the “tax” consumers have paid for credit card use. Merchants will be charged .5 percent per transaction. This smaller tax will be passed along to consumers, but it’s far less.

How can the social web help folks on the ground who are scared and in economic peril?

The startup costs of new businesses have plunged–the “eBay economy.” He points to the host’s $9 cufflinks made by a jeweler in England who can find customers overseas. Millions of people can start businesses, some of which can become big businesses.

Ted Leonsis, Superstar

Posted 29, September, 2008 by Craig Stoltz
Categories: social media, social networks, Ted Leonsis

Tags: , ,

Liveblog from Interact08

Opening session: “Shift Happens,” by Ted Leonsis, vice-chairman emeritus AOL, sage, sports franchise co-owner–all around investor, booster and mentor to many web startups. Said to have coined the phrase “new media” [fact-check that one].

Consumer currently feels “shattered”–in New York last week, it felt to him “like the week after 9/11”

Presidential race is a “turning point” for the integration of Web 2.0

New products, etc. need to be created for 3-screens

How consumers consume: Free, on-demand, mashed up, shared, raw and authentic.

“Our children are growing up in a world where free is better than paid.” Pay-based businesses will “die.”

“People ask me, ‘Where are your people?’ I don’t have people.” Part of being “authentic,” people can smell b.s. a mile away.”

Globalization: We don’t know how to translate international uniques into currency. [Chinese will develop 300,000 math PhDs this year. We’ll graduate 20,000. Marketing is increasingly for math majors. What does this mean to U.S. business?]

What do consumers give you? Money, time, pixels. You need to think in terms of those currencies.

“Ted’s Take”: I blog every day. I don’t like it anymore when people type my name into Google and see the first thing that comes up is a bad [Washington Post] article. My content is now at the top. “It’s important you take control of” your search results.

How this is blurring work and pleasure: A worker arrives at the office and logs first into fantasy football on Monday a.m., yet handled 300 e-mails on Sunday.

Discusses “filmanthropy“–movies with messages, creating a second bottom line. Just launched, in partnership with Clearspring [in which he invests]. Cuts films into film widgets–now 61 million views. In U.S., there are 500 indie theaters; we have 12,000 virtual theaters.

The Internet is powerful because it enhances all of the following. It’s what all my businesses are designed around.

  • relationships in communities of interest
  • self-expression
  • giving back
  • pursuing a higher calling

Twitter’s Bridge to. . .Somewhere

Posted 28, September, 2008 by Craig Stoltz
Categories: politics, Twitter

Tags: ,

Like Twitter itself, the site’s new Election2008. . .thing lives in that maddening zone between irresistible and pointless.

I guess you’d call Twitter’s Elections2008 a service–it aggregates all the Tweets on a particular topic. They spill down the screen in something like real time, one after another.

Twitter Election2008

Twitter Election2008

You can choose to witness Tweets for All Candidates, or any of the Big 4 individually. The latest “official” Tweets “by” Obama and McCain appear above the fold, along with other tags you can follow. [Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr silenced again–this time by the fatcats at Twitter, who are clearly in the pocket of corrupt conventional politics! Wonder where Twitter’s PAC contributions are going?????]

The updates slide down the screen so quickly it’s anxiety provoking. To read one, you have to pass your mouse over an update to pause the stream. Read it, unpause and you’re back to playing Election Tetris, trying to click fast before an update disappears at the bottom.

The Tweets are, as you expect, all over the map. Brief love ‘n’ hate notes, jabs, jibes, jive and jingoism, plus people trying to viralize their own blog posts and videos.

If journalism is the first rough draft of history, Twitter’s Election08 is the synaptic spatter that proceeds coherent political thought.

I suspect something will come of this. Tweet aggregation has become a low art practiced widely around the web, and Twitter itself is trying to make sure it has a place in the studio.

The underlying functionality of Twitter is so compelling that some smart people are likely, eventually, to figure out how to use this vertical streaming of the content for good rather than harm.

But as with the election itself, let’s not raise your expectations too much.  To quote a telling Tweet that just slid by: “USA Patriot: RaquelTWG you are pretty… McCain/Palin’08”

Free Social Web Presentation: A $495 value!

Posted 24, September, 2008 by Craig Stoltz
Categories: Health 2.0, media, search, social media, Uncategorized, Web 2.0

Tags: ,

I’m about to go do a presentation on social media. The topic this time: How to use various search-and-discover tools to monitor what’s being said in the socialwebosphere about you, your company, your partners or competitors, your spouse, your enemies, etc.

The audience is a group of people who do PR, marketing and communications for non-profit groups in the healthcare field. The people in attendance paid $495 to hear my presentation–though, to be fair, a lunch, dinner and a bunch of other, far more interesting speakers are part of the deal too.

But I thought I’d share the useful stuff right here in my blog, where everything is free. And–this is a guarantee–worth every penny.

The presentation lists a bunch of tools you can use to monitor what’s being said out in the social web. I know there are many others, but the ones I’m listing are both user-friendly for late adopters and likely, at least as a group, to produce a good scan of what’s being said in blogs, on Twitter, on discussion forums and hyperlocal news sites.

If any readers of this blog know good tools to supplement or replace the ones I’ve listed here, please leave a comment below. I’ll update the list and republish the full list in a later post.

Anyway, it’s about 12:30 p.m. and I’m on at 1 p.m. Better run.

Here’s the handout I’ll give out.

Learning to Listen In

The following tools help you monitor the many conversations happening all around the Internet. Some comments may involve your business, institution or key people. You may not want or need to respond. But knowing what people are saying is vital.

Listening is also an easy way to familiarize yourself with the baffling world of social media. Later on you may want to use these same techniques in marketing, branding, communication and customer service efforts. Talk like a marketer, though, and they’ll hate you.


Most of these tools let you save your searches. Some send results to your e-mail, your iGoogle page or any RSS reader [Yahoo360, Netvibes, Bloglines, etc.]

Be sure to “listen” not only for your institution or firm’s full name, but for its nickname, short name, common misspellings, etc. Don’t forget about the names of key people.

The following tools are listed in approximate order of value. Start with Google Alerts, and see which others turn up content you’d otherwise miss.

  • Google Alerts The most basic way to monitor what’s being published on important topics and events. If nothing else, set Google Alerts for keywords and have results delivered to your e-mail box.
  • Filtrbox Can dig deeper and help analyze content that turns up. Monthly fee for high-level use. For some, it may be worth it.
  • BlogPulse A Nielsen service, it monitors blog content
  • Omgili or Twing Both of these monitor the “deep web”—message boards where most search engines don’t prowl or
  • Twitter Search To listen in on what’s being said on this annoying, oddly compelling platform For alerts:
  • Topix Aggregates local news better than most. A good way to see what your local press is reporting without having to visit their sites

D.C. Social Media: 2.0ut in Front?

Posted 23, September, 2008 by Craig Stoltz
Categories: Washington 2.0, Web 2.0


The Washington, D.C. area is boiling with action, but it’s not all about the upcoming quadrennial episode of mass hysteria. The region has become of all things, a national center–maybe the national center–for innovation in the social web.

I say this with some reluctance. I’m a lousy cheerleader and innately skeptical of any claims that carry the whiff of a chamber of commerce luncheon centerpiece.

Having said that, I believe there is something big and unexpectedly important going on in my home region, one not known for its forward thinking or brassy innovation. But D.C. 2.0 seems to be real.

Last week Twin Tech II, a party designed to bring together the Northern Virginia/D.C./Maryland tech community, drew 1,200 people, and a bunch of people were turned away. I’m not sure recent McCain rallies have had that many people. [To be fair, McCain rallies are not held in massive nightclubs with an open bar, so that may explain some of it. That may also be a good idea for the McCain campaign, but that’s another story.]

Anyway, the Twin Tech meetup was really more about bringing two different tech cultures together: The Suits and the T-shirts, the Stalwarts and the Schemers, the Arrivistes and the Artistes, the Gold and the Geeks.

The people representing the Northern Virginia Technology Council, land of defense contractors and enterprise network firms, were actually wearing suits and ties, as if they’d just come from a sales presentation [they probably had]. One of the women looked like she could easily be a great grandmother. She looked like she was having a blast. I didn’t see her dance, but then I didn’t stay until the end.

Meanwhile the t-shirts–indie 2.0 entrepreneurs, programmers, designers, marketers and even some extremely talented, reasonably priced social media consultants heroically devoted to their clients–showed up in stylish eyewear, interesting hair on their face and heads, tiny tattoos and a sort of thriftshop-Urban Outfitters-Nordstrom Rack chic. The women looked great. The open bar was well patronized.

This dual-social-group thing helps explain, I think, why the Washington area can make a plausible claim as 2.0 Central. It’s an amazing mix of grown-ups, young people, and business conditions. Among the assets:

  • The rich talent pool left in the wake of the AOL diaspora
  • The 2.0 enterprise network builders and sellers in Northern Virginia and the many consultants, lawyers and financiers who follow in their wake
  • Legions of print journalists making the migration to digital
  • Political and non-profit social mediacrats–those eye-poppingly forward-leaning 2.Obamacists ™ are among us
  • Academics, think-tankers and policy-heads who are leading the way on issues of web privacy, piracy, legalities and social impacts of all this stuff
  • Established Washington PR and lobbying firms, scrambling to leverage social media at risk of falling terminally behind the new social marketing firms that “get it”
  • Increasingly social-media-savvy publishers and broadcasters like The Washington Post, USA Today, National Geographic, Discovery, PBS and NPR
  • Government agencies which, god help us, are beginning to use social media to reach their citizen clients
  • The Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art and other world-class museums that have committed to the 2.0 thing
  • And hundreds of 2.0 companies, from up-and-coming national names like Clearspring, Mixx, Vidget Labs, R2i, Freewebs and Hungry Machine to scrappy startups chasing money and a clue. Some of the latter are getting a boost from a D.C. based mini-2.Incubator, LaunchBox Digital.

It’s quite a confluence of people and factors–perhaps more than you’ll find elsewhere, even in Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley–and there’s plenty of energy and, I think, even money to go around. I have every reason to believe I’ll be able to stand behind that statement five years from now.

Which brings me to the next D.C. mega-event, Interact08, a conference that will put on stage many of the luminaries representing the groups described above. Ted Leonsis, paterfamilias of many tech startups in the area and the nation, will keynote. And none other than Marissa Mayer of Google will appear on a panel.

When Google sends Mayer across the country to appear on a panel, you know something is going on.

I don’t know if the crowd will surpass 1,200, but I’m told only 35 tickets ramain at $395. I’ll be blogging from Interact, and will dutifully report on developments.

Oh, I forgot [warning: metaphor incoming] Interact08 will be held in the Ronald Reagan Building. I’m telling you, this Washington 2.0 thing is getting serious.