Posted tagged ‘social media’

Business Week’s Twitter Article in 140 Characters

15, May, 2008

Maybe a million users, enthused/baffled/addicted. Business infiltrates. Maybe a legit interlinked social media platform. But where’s money?

n.b. The article itself is so full of show-offey, high-concept, meta-media hyperlinks it’s nearly unreadable. The above is my public service.


John Edwards’s 2.0bituary and the Big Social Media Lie

23, April, 2008

This seems like an odd day to write about John Edwards, whom some of you may remember was running for president at some remote time in the past, like February.

But a blog entry by Stowe Boyd includes a fascinating–if obvious-when-you-think-about it–observation about politicians’ use of social media that’s worth carrying forward into the general election.

The 2.ghost town–an abandoned blog, Twitter account, etc.–that Edwards left standing when he suspended his campaign make a vivid illustration of how social media is seized upon by politicians to create “two-way communications” with the public–and then dropped the instant its utility as a vote-generator is exhausted.

Writes Stowe:

So, you opt to try to exploit the edglings by signing up to Twitter, and writing a blog, and all that newfangled web stuff, trying to mine the potential there with ersatz involvement and cheesy, inauthentic participation: cramming old one:many messaging into a conversationally rich environment.

Then, you drop out. And proof that it is totally bogus, you just stop. Bam. No ‘thanks for the memories’, no ‘see you in the funny papers’, and certainly no ongoing involvement, since after all, there really was no involvement involved.

Proof of old politics wolf in new politics sheep’s clothing: they assume the ways of the new social web revolution as a means to come into contact with us, but when they lose (and maybe when they win, as well?) they drop the pretense of involvement, and go back to whatever they really believe in. Which is clearly not this new emerging whatever-the-hell-it-is on the web.

Okay, he’s being tough and a bit theatrical [as one commenter points out, Edwards’ wife has cancer, for god’s sake]. But the startling question Stowe raises in passing is this:

Will the winner of the race continue to use social media after installed in the White House?

Or will that “two way communication” that social media provides be shelved, along with negative ads and yard signs, until it’s time to fire up the campaign engine?

As it happens, I follow “Barack Obama” [or whoever types the vapid Tweets that represent the great orator’s voice in Twitterdom]. The day after Pennsylvania, “Obama” is eerily silent.

I just “nudged” him. Wonder if he’ll post!

Punchline: around 2 p.m., “Barack Obama” posted this Tweet: BarackObama In New Albany, IN at a town hall meeting at Indiana University Southeast.

[Thanks to Josh Levy at TechPresident for the pointer to Boyd’s post.] Gets Social [Media]

21, April, 2008

Magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes was a famous socialite known for throwing fantabulous parties for his rich pals. The online partner of the magazine bearing his name is getting pretty social too. It’s no boozefest on a yacht, but it invites its readers to a lively get-together.

[End of party metaphor here, just in time.]

Most publications now accept that their web sites shouldn’t just present published content with multimedia accessories. They’re slowly giving up on building “walled gardens” that try to prevent visitors from escaping. What’s evolving is widespread use of social media that engage readers to respond to, evaluate and create content. It’s tricky. It’s scary. But it’s essential.’s social media features:

Reader recommendations: The site gives readers a nearly equal say in surfacing the good stuff: A “Top Rated” module appears above the fold, just below Top News. Too many sites bury this feature.

Community: Its “Stock Pickers Community,” puts a different civilian investor, with picks and a detailed performance record, on the main stage every day. Community members can choose to “follow” people (like Twitter or Facebook, but with a purpose). In aggregate, the number of followers constitute a group endorsement. It’s easy to see how this can encourage to Digg-like mischief [“follow me and I’ll follow you!”]. But hey, welcome to 2.0, where the wisdom of the crowds battles the self-interest of the cabal constantly.

Bloggers: Okay, the bloggers are gathering communities of readers, but someone has to tell these folks to write shorter. Their entries are as long as front-of-the-book magazine articles or in-print opinion columns. That’s not going to work on the web. Five hundred words, two links and out, gang. [I exclude myself from this edict, of course.]

Forbes\' OrgChart Wiki

A wiki: The OrgChart wiki is one of the coolest and most wonderfully dangerous features I’ve seen on a suit-and-tie site like Type a company name and out pops a visual representation of who falls where on the food chain, with little popup notes. Have information to add? Corrections to make? Have at it. It’s like Wikipedia for pod-dwellers and corporate climbers with bad attitudes. Demote your enemies! Appoint your pals to the board! In Web 2.0, you’re in control.

It’s encouraging to see continue to evolve, even after its big renovation last year. That’s the way the web works: Iterate, don’t redesign.

And invite your guests to the party. They’ll misbehave, but that’s part of the fun.

2.D’oh! The Weekly Roundup

20, April, 2008

A weekly sweeping of the inane, inspired and utterly inexplicable from the world of Web 2.0

News to me: Google Tip

When searching Google, you can add a tilde ~ [it’s probably just to the left of your 1/! key] to instruct Google to search both the word and its synonym. It will also search alternate endings. From Google Guide:

  • [ ~inexpensive ] matches “inexpensive,” “cheap,” “affordable,” and “low cost
  • [ ~run ] matches “run,” “runner’s,” “running,” as well as “marathon

[This tip came to me via David Rothman, medical librarian and walking wiki of infotech. He learned about it from Ellen Detlefsen, herself an infoguru, who was presenting at an AMA conference the three of us attended.]

An “Oasis of Creativity” in a Desert of Debt

Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams promises the breathtakingly leveraged, horrifically downsized, real-estate-mogul-owned Tribune Co. will become “an oasis of creativity” in journalism. Read the interview.

Most intriguing, if exaggerated, observation:

I was looking at newspaper front pages from 1938 through to 2008. Put them all next to each other and they pretty much look the same. Meanwhile, there’ve been inventions like TV and cellphones and computers. Yet, the newspaper front page hasn’t changed.”

Join the Content Conservation Movement: Shut Up

Scott Karp, CEO of the social bookmarking service for journalists called Publish2, offers this solution to information overload: Clean up the info environment by producing less content.

We don’t need better tools to filter infocrap, he argues. We need to produce less crap. [“Crap” is my word, not his.] Writes he:

“Everyone can have electricity — which means we need lots of fossil fueled power plants. Everyone can have a car — which means that we have more car exhaust in the atmosphere. Everyone can choose from a large variety of packaged goods in the supermarket, produced in factories and distributed by trains and trucks — which means we produce more trash. . .

“On the web, everyone can publish — which means we have more content than all the people consuming content on the web can possibly consume.

“How did we deal with excesses from technology that damaged the environment? By starting a conservation movement?”

Which seems like an ideal time to end this utterly derivative, frankly low-value post, which I felt I needed to do to keep my blog fresh. Geez, now I feel like I just tossed a Dr Pepper can out the car window.

To do my part, I’m turning comments off for this post.

The Twitbin of History: A Failed Experiment

9, April, 2008

I keep reading stuff about how people are using Twitter for legit business purposes. With trepidation, I decided to try it myself.

I’ve been Twittering for a couple of months and have actually come to enjoy what’s called [my favorite highbrow term of Twitter art] the “ambient intimacy”–the background of friendly, if usually vacuous, chatter of my smallish Twitter “posse” [my favorite Twitter lowbrow term of art].

So I proposed to a working group of mine–a threesome in an office, me from my home-office HQ–to create new Twitter handles known only to us, and create an invitation-only Twitter group in which we’d share our links, momentary observations, quick questions, etc. Essentially, we’d use Twitter as group IM.

We all installed the dead-simple Twitbin plugin for the Firefox browser. This displays a mini-Twitter-interface in a sidebar of your browser. We chose to “follow” each other’s new handles, closed the group to outsiders, and we were off.

We continue to soldier on, but the project isn’t working.

1. For quick group questions, this system works only when one or more members of the posse are at their desks, typing [none of us it a mobile Twit yet]. Otherwise I find myself sending a regular-old e-mail to one or several of them to get an answer. I’ve been known to use the phone.

2. Many times I’ll return to my desk–sometimes after an hour, sometimes when the sun is gone–to see a lonely message in the Twitbin: “You there? When’s a good time to call?” “Can you send me that draft?” It seems so sad and. . .defunct. I may answer: “Here now: Give a buzz.” Or “Talk at 4?” Then I see my sad, defunct message in the bin. It’s rarely responded to.

I suspect our group is too small for this to work effectively. Perhaps a dozen people would ensure someone’s around to create that efficient call-and-response. Our team should expand to 6 or 8 shortly, so maybe it’ll take on some momentum.

But, truth told–and I’m not proud of this–I miss my “real” Twitter posse. The links from friends, the brain-spatter of people I admire, the updates from the far-flung, the mundanities of car repairs, minor injuries, funny quotes, memorable meals, reported observations, and even the odd bit of shameless hype (how the hell did @supplementsforfree! get into my posse?).

And no, the thought of following multiple Twitter feeds is more than I can bear. Just one is sucking away my precious lifeforce–and time from other “important” social media tasks like reading RSS feeds, checking my Facebook profile, responding to LinkedIn mail. . .you get the idea.

[They say ADD is a structural or chemical condition. I’m wondering if you can’t bring it on with your own unwise, repeated behavior, the way you can get the flu by slow-dancing with the wrong person all night.]

But back to the question: Aside from promoting blog entries (which I do with my “real” Twitter account and will, in a curiously reflexive exercise, do with this one too)–has anybody out there found an efficient way to leverage Twitter for some professional purpose?

Leave a comment here. I’d tell you to find me on Twitter, but I’ll be away for a while.