A quick look at the list of the 'top' blogs in the world will show you that almost all of them are written by teams of people. There isn't one in the top 10 that's personal.
Much is being written about the impact that new communication technologies and channels (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) have on traditional marketing. The deeper question is: Will these new communication channels actually force material changes not just in the way companies market their products but in the strategies and operations they use to develop and build those products as well? In my view, the answer is an emphatic yes. It's another instance of the proverbial medium that changes the content.
Mothers may not have invented social media, but the 26 million moms who use social media suggests this demographic dominates it. From mommy blogs to Facebook and Twitter accounts, social media provides a limitless platform for savvy “social media moms” to share pictures and videos, keep in contact with friends and family, and post reviews about products.
Chances are, you live a plugged-in life. We connect with Facebook, share through Twitter, watch on YouTube, learn from Google. Today’s playlist explores what it means to live online. We start with a blogging visionary — SixApart’s Mena Trott, the founding mother of the blog revolution. She talks about finding community, relationships and a healthy dose of narcissism in the blogosphere.
If you're trolling the web and hit upon an Examiner.com story, you might think you're reading the San Francisco Examiner. But you're not. Instead, Examiner.com is a crowd-sourced content play with the backing of billionaire investor Philip Anschutz. With over 40,000 freelancers in more than 240 neighborhoods, the Denver-based start-up aims to dominate every province of local news, bringing marketers and advertising along with it.
If you intend to build your business, it’s important that you keep your head well fed. I do this in a variety of ways, including reading, watching informative video podcasts, listening to audiobooks, attending events, connecting with intelligent people, and testing out ideas in various labs. The other day I released my Escape Velocity Bookshelf, as yet another effort to help give you ideas on what to read. You can click into the bookshelf, but don’t forget to check the comments on the post, as there’s even more meat there.
Facebook is the most important site for marketers' social media marketing efforts, according to Omniture's 2010 "Online Analytics Benchmark Survey." From a sample of 600 marketers, 69 percent claimed to be using social media in their marketing efforts. Of those respondents, 63 percent ranked Facebook as the most important site for that activity, followed by blogs at 40 percent, and "other" sites at 34 percent. Just 28 percent of respondents ranked Twitter as most important.
And now competing for our already frazzled attention, two somewhat contradictory studies: one by Pew Internet Project and the other from BlogHer and iVillage. Pew's latest study on how the 18-29 demographic are using social media found a decline in blog-writing and -reading by this text-happy generation. BlogHer and iVillage, meanwhile, report that millennials are the most avid blog-writers and -readers. Let's break this down.
A lot of people are excited about social media and think it could have a hugely positive impact on their brand, their marketing and communications, the insight they get, the way in which they deal with customer service and many other benefits it can bring to an organisation and to the way it interacts with and engages customers. They are right to be excited, the opportunities are great but brands should not hide from the fact that getting an engaging social media presence takes proper thought, some effort and may take time to embed.
There is no doubt that 2009 was a fierce battleground for online marketers to reach the hearts and minds of Generation Y. Between the economic downturn, the proliferation of new media and blogs and the explosive growth of social networking sites, advertisers were challenged like never before to reach millennials and do it with the tightest marketing budgets seen in years. Many marketers, such as Vitaminwater, launched great campaigns and won, while others barely made it off the battlefield.
You’ve heard the phrase. You’ve probably even said it before. But in this age of “everyone has a voice and a way to broadcast it out into the world,” is it really still true? Okay, okay, I know the premise of it is true. That we are supposed to go out of our way to accommodate our customers so they will have a uber-positive experience. And positive experiences get talked about. You know - word of mouth in action.
Imagine a planetarium-style presentation about the future of technology, followed by a tour of dozens of hands-on exhibits — whether of sandlike microparticles that flow like liquid in a beaker, pictures that appear three-dimensional or concrete that floats. Is it the latest science museum, or a new Disney attraction? No, it’s the “World of Innovation” showroom, a cornerstone of the 3M Company’s customer innovation center at its headquarters in St. Paul. In a world of online user communities, social media, interactive blogs and other technological means for companies to elicit customer feedback, you might think that face-to-face interaction is a thing of the past. Think again.
One of the reason why public relations firms are ill equipped to deal with bloggers and new media is that they were built to deal with traditional or mainstream media. Many agencies are still stuck in pushy mode. Don't be so quick to deny it, I get dozens of poorly targeted press releases a day - and from big name agencies, too. Those that set up listening posts and target the outreach still fail in coming through with the follow up.
Each year at Blogworld Expo, Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra presents The State of the Blogosphere as one of the event’s prestigious keynotes. For those who are unfamiliar with Technorati, it serves as a directory and search engine for the blogosphere as well as a benchmark for the ranking of blogs worldwide. While there has been much discussion about the relevance and even demise of blogs as the statusphere and micro updates gained traction in addition to earning prominence in the mainstream spotlight, the reality is that blogs are a vital ingredient to the media ecosystem.
This is the age of the amafessional, when amateurs are rivaling professionals in opportunity, talent and the ability to produce quality work. It's happening in virtually every field. In areas ranging from communications to medicine to simply making things with your hands, amafessionals are gaining in numbers and the ability to market their services. Struggling amateurs used to want to become stars, and of course some still do, but this new phenomenon is different. Millions are participating just for the fun and challenge of it–-almost like running in a marathon. "Amafessionals" include both the amateur/professional hybrid and pajama professionals, who often work at home rather than the studio or the office.
Nielsen executive, book author and Ad Age columnist Pete Blackshaw is astounded by the number of brand managers who still have no coherent strategy for dealing with negative blog posts. The customer service guru was keynote speaker at the Children's Advertising Review Unit Conference. But during the Q&A, audience members seemed more interested in tips about how to deal with negative blog posts -- than children's advertising issues.
Nearly everyone reads. Soon, nearly everyone will publish. Before 1455, books were handwritten, and it took a scribe a year to produce a Bible. Today, it takes only a minute to send a tweet or update a blog. Rates of authorship are increasing by historic orders of magnitude. Nearly universal authorship, like universal literacy before it, stands to reshape society by hastening the flow of information and making individuals more influential. As an open research question, we asked whether it’s possible to objectively track this change and accurately predict the eventual threshold point of universal authorship.
As a B2B marketer, thought leadership is one of the most valuable assets your brand — or you — can attain. In down economies, prospects conduct even more research leading up to the purchase. This means B2B marketing professionals must help educate prospects in the early stages of the buying cycle; doing this well can help frame their buying process and establish your brand as a trusted advisor that understands their problems and knows how to solve them. Therefore it's more vital than ever for your organization to be viewed as an industry leader and trusted resource for all key stakeholders: customers, media, analysts, investors and everyone in between.
The attention dashboard is rapidly emerging as the online hub for sharing and discovering information, connecting us to people, content, and events in real-time. According to research, we’re already spending more time in social networks than we are in email. New studies are only fortifying these findings, documenting an increase time spent specifically in Social Media and blogs. In fact, the Nielsen Company reports reports that time spent on social networks and blogs accounted for 17 percent of total time spent on the Internet in August 2009. Most notably, but not surprising, however, is that this discovery represents nearly triple the percentage of time spent using Social Media just one year ago.
In 2002, Caterina Fake (her real name) was developing a video game with her husband, Stewart Butterfield, when they decided to drop photos into instant messaging--akin to adding pictures to conversations, they thought. The idea blossomed into Flickr, which launched in February 2004. Initially it didn't proliferate. But once they added "tagging" it exploded--it was well-timed to make the most of the growing popularity of digital cameras and the ever-expanding blogosphere. Bloggers used Flickr as a photo repository and others gravitated to it so they could share pictures. The site that began as an afterthought to Fake's and Butterfield's multiplayer game matured into the fifth most popular site on the Internet, generating revenue by charging a fee to heavy users who wanted a place to store their multitudes of photos. A year after launch, the formerly debt-ridden couple sold Flickr to Yahoo for $40 million.
With so many advertising dollars flowing onto blogs, Facebook and Twitter, it is not surprising that the Federal Trade Commission, which is charged with protecting consumers from sneaky advertising, has turned its eye on this new medium. Spending on consumer-generated and social-networking sites reached $1.01 billion in 2008, up 25 percent from 2007, according to PQ Media, a research firm. It is expected to grow about 20 percent this year. Much of this advertising is clearly labeled. But a lot of it is paid advertising masquerading as bona fide endorsements by celebrities, well-known bloggers and even ordinary people — honest comment, free from pecuniary considerations.
The Federal Trade Commission noticed a while back that marketers of brands, products and ideas have used new media in some incredibly dishonest ways. These include paying people or giving them freebies in return for positive mentions and not requiring (or even encouraging) them to disclose that they're being compensated. So with laudable goals, the commission -- an institution that plays a vital role in helping us have a free and honorable marketplace -- issued a document aimed at better disclosure, with penalties of up to $11,000 in fines for violations. Basically, the FTC is saying that if you have a "material connection" to a product or service you're praising, you are an endorser who must disclose that connection. Sounds good, doesn't it. But when you read the FTC's ruling, published this week, you get the sense of a government-gone-wild travesty. Why?
Our Culture (high and popular) is usually created by people who are happy with the systems the world has given them. Magazine editors don't spend a lot of time wishing for better technology. Opera singers focus more on their singing than on microphone technologies. Novelists proudly use typewriters. Sure, there are exceptions like Les Paul (who developed the electric guitar) and Mitch Miller (who invented reverb) but these exceptions prove the rule: often, culture is invented by people who are too busy to seek out new technology.
The Federal Trade Commission just released rules to regulate product endorsements not just in advertisements but also on blogs. (PDF here; the regs don’t start until page 55.) It is a monument to unintended consequence, hidden dangers, and dangerous assumptions. Mind you, I hate one of its apparent targets: Pay Per Post and its ilk, which attempt to co-opt the voice of bloggers. But I hate government regulation of speech more. And mind you, I am all in favor of transparency; I disclose to a comic fault here. I think that openness is the best fix for questions of trust and advise companies and politicians and certainly governments to become transparent by default as enlightened self-interest. But mandating this for anyone who dares speak online? Foolish.
Three months ago I did something that many considered virtual heresy. After five years and 5,300 posts I shuttered my blog, Micro Persuasion, in favor of a lifestream which you can find at SteveRubel.com. I thought I'd share why I went this route, what I learned these past three months and the implications for brands. As I have written many times, the world is facing a quiet crisis of attention. There are more shiny objects and information vying for our attention than ever -- with no end in sight. We're coping by making choices.
Business blogging can be exceptionally rewarding. When done correctly, a successful blog can bring attention to your business, can attract new customers, and can turn your current customer base into the type of fans that companies like Apple, Netflix, and Ben and Jerry’s have: people who will not only buy your product or service, but evangelize it to their peers. Of course, like anything, there is a right way to go about starting a business blog and a wrong way. Creating a blog for your small business isn’t easy; it requires hard work and the ability to think creatively about your work. But if you avoid the five big mistakes laid out in this post, your chances of building a successful business blog will be much better.
Within moments of shouting "You lie" at President Barack Obama during his speech last week to a joint session of Congress regarding healthcare reform efforts, Rep. Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, became the latest hot topic on the Internet. Almost instantly, the relatively obscure Congressman became the top search on Google, Yahoo Search and Bing. His name dominated tweets on Twitter and became a top topic of posts to news streams on Facebook. The blogosphere erupted. His even less-well-known political opponent, Democrat Rob Miller, an Iraq war veteran who is running for Wilson's seat in the 2010 election, got his own online impact: as of last Friday, he had received $750,000 in unsolicited Web-based campaign contributions, according to Politico.com.
The dream of quitting the day job and making a living from blog revenue has proved to be far-fetched for most bloggers. But a few entrepreneurs, like the Sugars, have found success in blog networks. Such networks put blogs on various topics under some form of central control, like a digital-era Condé Nast. Though they do not command nearly the same ad rates that glossy magazines do, they are attracting ad dollars while magazines are losing them.
Mommy bloggers, move over. It’s daddy’s turn in the spotlight. Many mommy blogs have gained avid followings. The blogs, like Dooce and The Pioneer Woman, are full of stories, often quite funny, written by mothers about raising children and other topics. Recently, fathers have been getting into the game, too, with blogs like DadLabs and Dad-O-Matic.
There’s a blog post on MobileCrunch regarding a PR firm having their employees/interns put up fake product reviews on behalf of their clients. For the younger folk in the industry, let me make sure it’s clear that these techniques are nothing new. The difference is in today’s world the risks associated with such a move are so much higher, as you are more likely to get caught. For us to simply say “duh, don’t do it” just isn’t enough. The massive shift into self-publishing platforms (aka “the era of social media” – yawn) has radically enabled individuals to expose virtually every “truth” that’s out there.
Computers may be good at crunching numbers, but can they crunch feelings? The rise of blogs and social networks has fueled a bull market in personal opinion: reviews, ratings, recommendations and other forms of online expression. For computer scientists, this fast-growing mountain of data is opening a tantalizing window onto the collective consciousness of Internet users.
Ben Huh is the first to admit his company could easily have wound up on FAIL Blog. For the uninitiated, that's his wildly popular website to which users submit photos and videos documenting such colossally stupid moves as writing a billboard partly in Braille and using a trash can as a bike helmet. Like the rest of the 20-odd websites Huh owns, FAIL Blog was added to his empire for no more specific reason, he says, than "Dude, I think it's funny."
Bloggers, be warned. Advertisers, you too. Two of the National Advertising Review Council’s investigative units plan to announce Tuesday their first decisions involving blogs. Their recommendations call for clear disclosure when a company is sponsoring a site or paying for product reviews.
Far be it from me to lament the ability for anyone to build or publish virtually anything now that the age of the consumer and age of information have intersected so gloriously. We are truly blessed to live in a day when, with a little time and instruction reading, even the tech-tarded can have their own blog or website and publish anything they want. The more adventurous and creative, or all-night code-bender freaks, can build platforms and tools and toss them out there to see if the public bites.
A new study by Cornell researchers shows that traditional (old-media) news outlets lead the blogosphere by 2.5 hours when it comes to breaking news. It's a sign that the old guard should chill out about blogs and how they're destroying the news world.
Blogs, Twitter, Facebook: these outlets are supposedly cheapening language and tarnishing our time. But the fact is we are all reading and writing much more than we used to...
Last year, I covered the landmark SEC decision to recognize corporate blogs and potentially other forms of Social Media as a recognized form of meeting public disclosure requirements under Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) – in some cases. It was a significant validation of a widely recognized medium for sharing information between publicly-traded companies and stakeholders. Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun, among many others, successfully lobbied over the years for official recognition of blogs and the SEC finally took notice. The real question is, did other public companies and their communications and Investor Relations teams take notice?
Amid the gloom, the internet still casts light: online retailers report bumper sales; and Twitter has become a staple for anyone looking for a jolly story. It makes sense: the internet has the huge advantage of being almost free for its consumers, and highly cost effective for its suppliers.
Part of what makes social media great is the ability to reach out and connect with people simply. Tools like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest are free or cheap, can reach lots of people, and promote two way conversations. You might be interested in using social software to promote your products or service or company, and that’s great. The thing is, this isn’t baseline advertising and marketing. You’re talking into a channel where people have gathered for different purposes. Some will be interested in your promotions. Others will reject them. Still others will rail against you for acting commercially in what they consider a sacred space.
Gretchen Vogelzang and Paige Heninger are much like other suburban mothers, with seven children between them and busy schedules. The difference is they also have a high-powered Hollywood agent, ad campaigns with some of the world's top brands and distribution through Google's vast network. Welcome to the world of mommy blogging, where women juggle the demands of childcare with building audiences online.
Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an "international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology," which I support 100%. I find the event particularly interesting for two reasons:
As the leading blog directory and search engine, Technorati maintains a coveted Authority Index which is considered amongst bloggers as the benchmark for measuring their rank and selling their position within the blogosphere. Authority in the index is defined as the number of blogs linking to a website within the last six months. The higher the number, the greater the level of Authority a blog earns. However, a disruptive trend is already at play. While blogs are increasing in quantity, their authority–as currently measured by Technorati–is collectively losing influence.
Facebook Connect is getting in on the widget game. The service, which allows people to sign in to any supported site using their Facebook credentials, was previously available as an API for web developers, but the company has rolled out a new Comments Box widget which makes it dead simple to add Facebook Connect-powered comments to any website.
Mass marketers have generally taken a wary stance toward blogs, but Frito-Lay isn't just embracing bloggers, it's letting them define their brand.
It all started with a simple question from Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang. A few days earlier, blogger Chris Brogan had written about his decision to accept $500 from Kmart to find out what's cool to buy at the discount retailer and then write about it. Owyang posted a question to his readers on microblogging site Twitter, asking whether it's O.K. for brands to approach bloggers in that manner.
The truth lies somewhere between "Google is making us stupid" and "the Internet will liberate humanity."
Belly flopping, Val Klimer and the world's largest potato are just a few items posted at Becks.com today. This is all part of "The Daily Different," a new blog created by the imported beer maker. The brand interviewed more than 1,000 people to find the right personality. It picked British standup comedian Darius Davies from London to serve as the voice of the brand. The effort ties into Beck's overall brand positioning of "Different by Choice" created by Euro RSCG, Amsterdam.