Archive for June, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful June 2008

Amid the furore of the CBC loosing the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme, its good to see that something is going well for them. I’ve been listening to some of their podcasts for a while now and I highly recommend Search Engine which discusses ways the Internet is changing the world.

Blog Explosion – blasts to numerous blogs at once: a great way to get your blog heard.

I’ve been looking for a contractor for a while now and I think my search is over thanks to MyTradefinder a web 2.0 site that refers and classifies contractors.

I found the last 2 thanks to Fiona at FMWalsh: Salesconx is an online place to buy and sell decision maker introductions. Interesting concept but whether it will be effective remains to be seen. BillingBoss is another online billing system for me to try out in my never ending search for the perfect package.

Be Careful When Twittering.

(person walking down the street, reading text off a mobile phone, oblivious to the giant hand about to close around him) Text: Henrietta44 is now following you on Twitter. Blue Mike is now following you on Twitter. MajorNews is now following you on Twitter. A menacing giant is now following you on the sidewalk.

Join me on Twitter.

Protect your Work

Worried that your good work could be plagiarised or that someone’s going to steal your thunder on the Internet and not reference your writing appropriately? There’s a solution to every problem and this one comes in the form of Creative Commons. An offshoot of a US non profit organisation , Creative Commons was founded in 2003 with the help of the University of Ottawa Law and Technology Program and theCanadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.

The service allows you to license your work easily and at no cost. With various different license offerings based on how much freedom you want to give people to use your writing and in which forums, Creative Commons steps you through an easy process to find the right license and then you simply download some HTML to your web-site and your covered like so:

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License

People using the works are then morally and legally obliged to use them accordingly (or not at all if you so choose). Whether or not people act appropriately remains to be seen and there’s also the issue of the global reach of the Internet with different laws governing different jurisdictions but if this plagiarism is a concern for you then Creative Commons is definately a step in the right direction to protecting your work.

Blogging: 3 C’s

Your corporate blog is up and running. You’re off to the races with lots of witty anecdotes and already traffic to your website has increased. In order to build on this initial success, don’t forget the three C’s of blogging.

Consistency – write consistently. Many bloggers write posts daily. For corporate blogs the recognized minimum is 2 blogs per week so get on with it will you! If you can’t write consistently or if you set up a blog get others involved and you ultimately lose interest then bring it down: there’s nothing more frustrating than finding a blog that hasn’t been updated since 2005 or worse, has three posts and then nothing.

Clarity – it should always be clear to readers what your posts are about. Write short sentences and keep articles brief to maximize effect. Get your message across in the most straight forward way. People don’t have the time to read page upon page of your ruminations.

Collaboration – blogging is all about collaboration so stimulate your audience and encourage them to join in. Ask for questions and opinions in an effort to elicit comments and always remember to follow up with those who comment to encourage them to come back.

Do you have any C’s to add to the list?

Blogging for Research

I had the pleasure of speaking last night at the BC Chapter of the Professional Organisers of Canada. The topic was Blogging for Business and it was very well received with lots of questions and interaction – it was a great audience.

Regarding blogging, it became apparent that many people in the POC community run small to medium sized businesses and have little time for anything but their business itself.

Blogging needn’t take much time and if you schedule it into your day and get in the habit then its easy to fit in. A post needn’t be long or detailed, it just had to adds value for your audience.

The benefits of a blog are many: low cost marketing, enhanced branding, establishing expertise, more traffic to your site and so on. It makes the effort worth it.

However, if that isn’t enough to entice you to blog then you should at the very least be using the blogosphere to research. Its free, its readily available and there’s a tonne of stuff being said about your industry right now. Use the blogosphere as a research tool and as a way to learn. The best way to listen to what it being said about your industry, product or company is to use a blog engine like Technorati to search.

For some more useful information for organizers on searching for blogs and on keyword positioning check out Seascape Web Design’s latest blog posting. I am glad I inspired you Katy!

Thanks to all who came out last night.

11 Ways to Reduce spam

I don’t know about you but every day my in box was overloaded with unwanted email. You know the stuff I mean: grow your penis, bank detail links, lottery winnings and the list goes on. Here are some of the steps I have taken to reduce the amount of unwanted and unsolicited mail I get.

  1. Use a firewall and anti virus software
  2. Set up a Gmail account and use that email when listing you contact details online
  3. Use Gmail – of all the mail systems I have used Gmail seems to be the best for filtering unwanted crap
  4. Use Akismet to reduce blog spam – its a great anti spam tool to catch unwanted comments
  5. Don’t answer or open email from anyone you don’t know
  6. Never click on links or open attachments in emails from people you don’t know
  7. Only give your primary email address to trusted contacts
  8. Complain to the spammer’s email provider (this works for fake bloggers too)
  9. Change your email address (or at least the one you surf with) regularly
  10. Don’t forward those emails that say if you forward to ten people in ten minutes something good will happen – it won’t
  11. Go incognito – enter fake email addresses rather than real ones when filling out online forms.

Mobile Social Networking

Those of you just getting to grips with online social networking take note: the trend has gone mobile. There’s a plethora of new mobile social networks out there. Its no longer good enough simply to update your status next time you get around to going on-line: you should be updating it on the go using your cell phone or similar doohicky. Or should you?

Here’s a scenario for you: you’re walking down Robson Street (Princes Street or Yonge for that matter) and your phone rings to say someone in your social network has updated their status or added a photo. Turns out a colleague you’ve been trying to meet is at a cafe round the corner passing some time. Question is do you pretend to bump into them or to you respond via your mobile network in the hope that they will respond?

BrightKite is one such social network that lets you do exactly this. Its in beta right now but you can request an invite and if you blog about it you are likely to get one. Add friends on the network according to where they are or make new friends according to where you are. The system also allows you to upload photos and add comments in a map view from your phone and it piggybacks on the success of Twitter, allowing you to link to the microblog (posting once to both and avoiding texter’s finger).

Its all very cool but is it simply another distraction in an already overwhelming sea of noise. Like many of these innovations it will depend on how you use it.

Sadly, BrightKite (the mobile version) isn’t available in Canada yet (or Scotland for that matter) but I signed up for the on-line version nevertheless in an effort to get an understanding of mobile SN. My first post lamented the lack of Canadian availability and the second post was inadvertent – I tried to get support assistance because I couldn’t include my url in my profile (invalid URL indeed!) but instead my post for support was sent out to all. The response was a warning about “crass commercialization”. Thankfully BrightKite staff quickly flagged the issue and, showing great attention to customer service, apologized for their over zealousness but to be honest I was a bit put off – and my URL question still hasn’t been resolved.

I love the BrightKite concept and I am looking forward to trying out the full blown network on my phone one day (when Canadian service materializes). I hope that by then they have worked out all their processes. In the meantime, if you are just getting used to on-line social networking don’t worry, you have some time before it hits the masses.

Are you on BrightKite or using other location based social networks? Please let us know and share your experiences with us.

Get It Right When Advertising – Friday Funny

When considering an ad campaign whether on-line or in the real world, its very important to get it right. Proof read your work and have someone else do it too to make sure the message is right unlike these on Oddee.

Facebook Declines as Social Media Useage Evolves

Recent statistics from Nielsen and other forums suggest the Facebook use is declining. After its meteoric growth last year, the social network is beginning to show signs of slower growth. Is it a case that the masses are spending more time on other forums or is it simply that social media is evolving?

In April both Facebook and MySpace saw a decline in traffic in the US. I don’t know about you but any time I try to grow my friends on MySpace I discover that the vast majority of users haven’t updated their profile this year (or last in many cases!) – a sure sign that the networking site is less popular. For Facebook the decline is less apparent and in my opinion we are seeing a change in user profile (kids fleeing as grown ups and professionals with less time to play take over).

At the same time we see LinkedIn and Ning taking off as more and more professionals recognize the value of virtual networking to grow their business. Both are aimed specifically at business professionals and have little of the fluff associated with MySpace in particular. New social networkers are looking for tools to help them become more productive not tools that distract.

Micro blogs are also winning. The most popular by far is Twitter whose growth has more than doubled in the US since the start of 2008. Again people are recognizing that pared down applications can help spread the word rather than simply increase the noise.

Its interesting to note that Social networks are not declining across the board, its simply that the way people use them is evolving. The popularity of digital social networking is increasing as more and more people use their phones to network.

So what does all this mean for marketing? It shows that Internet marketers in particular and any companies active in these forums need to be listening and aware of trends ahead of the pack so that they can adapt and evolve in synch and not get left behind. They need to be versatile and ready to change and adapt to evolving tastes and habits. Lastly its important never to put your eggs in one basket – if you’re hanging your social media marketing hat on Facebook alone then think again – it may be time to look at Twitter or LinkedIn too.

Reasons To Be Cheerful May 08

May was so much fun it came and went without our regular new media reasons to be cheerful post. Better late than never, here it is:

Tweet Scan – real time Twitter search: who is saying what about you or your company.
BrightKite – location based social networking
Squidoo – create your own mashup site about something your interested in.
Friend Feed – all your friend feeds in one central place.
Flock – manage feeds from your favorites in a browser setting.