Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Worker Bees on the Sound of Vision Podcast

Hear me discuss marketing, blogging, authenticity, leaping from corporate slave-dom to business owner and more on the Sound of Vision podcast.

This is Part 1 of 2 on the general topic Women and Business. Chris Nolan and Andrea Learned are also featured.

Part 2 will come next week, and that segment will also feature me and cohort Lisa Stone discussing Bloghercon.

Testing Moblogging on Blogger

Since Blogger has essentially been down since early yesterday, I
figured I'd test the moblogging interface and see if posts would show
up that way.

Could be a nice alternative way to get some info posted while they work
out their "issues." Whatever those are, not that they'd tell you or
anything of course.

I'm not holding my breath, but here goes.

Here's an argument that links=content

I have preached the "content is king" argument for a long time, hastening to argue with anyone who thinks that links are more important than content in the blogging world.

Today I read an interesting article on the topic on MarketingProfs.com.

The author says that links are a kind of content.

How so? Well, basically he acknowledges that links improve search engine ranking and all the other search engine optimization advantages to blogging that we hear so often, but he acknowledges that there is still a person who clicks through to those search result hits, and is either intrigued or annoyed by what he/she sees.

If you're a link whore and trying to exchange links with anyone who will give them to you, then your blog roll is likely to look random and, well, link-whorish. Does this matter so much for a personal blog? Maybe not. But if you have a blog that's representing your business or your brand, then it's not going to reflect well on the business/brand for it to be associated with dozens of random links, which are of no interest to your potential and actual customers.

Some long-time bloggers claim that no one uses blog rolls anymore, and at least one I've read thinks that's a good thing. But I think many people, especially those newer to blogs, do lean on blog rolls to find new voices from people whose voices they like. If you link them to a bunch of useless sites...how long will it be before they are annoyed by you? Not long I fear.

So author Gerry McGovern throws an interesting twist into the discussion of links vs. content...helping us see that links are a form of content.

True enough, Gerry, true enough.

Better Bad News Takes On Bloghercon

Better Bad News is like The Daily Show on bloggers. It takes some hot blog issue and parodies it, using "actors" to speak some of the blog psots on the given topic. I've watched Better Bad News clips before, but have been familiar with only about 20% of what they're mocking. That means it's funny for about 3 minutes, then it gets old, and I tune out.

Not this week. This week they're mocking the brou-ha-ha over gender diversity in the blogosphere.

Very very amusing, especially if you've been following all of my posts about reaction to Bloghercon.

Worker Bees and Bloghercon mentioned on CNN

Quite thrilled to learn via Elayne Riggs' blog yesterday that Bloghercon, Lisa Stone and I were all mentioned in the 3/15 "Inside the Blogs" segment on Judy Woodruff's show on CNN.

While I might wish they had mentioned my surname, or spelled my first name correctly in the transcript, I do appreciate that they pulled out an absolutely correct takeaway on what we want to do: "come together, network and brain storm about blogging." (I'd thrown in a bit about education too, but that is a quibble.)

Transcript is here. The blog segment is at the very end of the transcript.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

When Worlds Collide: Blogging & Theatre

I mentioned my new client, Subvert Productions, a couple of weeks ago.

Heather Gold's one-woman show, I look like an EGG, but I identify as a COOKIE is this charming rumination about coming of age and coming out...all discussed while she bakes the audience chocolate chip cookies!

Around the same time I started working with Heather, the Chron had this article about food bloggers. I started reading some of them and saw this real synergy between what some of them do....blog about life, food and cooking...and what Heather does...gets on stage and talks about life, food and cooking.

In particular I felt a connection to Amy, the blogger/chef behind Cooking With Amy, one of the most popular food blogs out there.

Long story short, after just a tiny little nudge from me, Amy is going to be Heather's Guest Chef on Sunday April 3rd!

I feel like it's the Circle of Life, you know?

Site of the Week: Minnie's Boys opens this week!

My Worker Bees Site of the Week is yet another client's site, because there is "Another Openin' of Another Show." (Cole Porter, Kiss Me Kate reference in case you're no theatre buff.)

42nd St. Moon's Spring Season kicks off on Wednesday with their production of Minnie's Boys...a behind-the-scenes look at the early days of the Marx Brothers, as written by Groucho's son, Arthur Marx.

The Marx Brothers started out in vaudeville and were nudged along by their mother, Minnie.

Of course, if you want a behind-the-scenes look at the staging of this behind-the-scenes musical, you can visit the blog I write for the theatre.

The Site of the Week, on the other hand, takes you directly to the page where you can learn all the details about how to get 20% off all tix for Minnie's Boys, using your Worker Bees discount.

This show has never played around here since I can remember, so this is truly a rare opportunity to see it.

(I'm going on April 3rd, so I can attend the post-show "Audience TalkBack" they do. One of the original Broadway cast members will be there to participate.)

So break a leg, 42nd St. Moon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

This week's Metro Santa Cruz column

On the real sacrifice of going vegetarian: no leather shoes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

UPDATE: Tracking Bloghercon at Technorati and Del.i.cious (and Feedster)

OK, I give up.

Although I have been diligently trying to not only read every bit of reaction to Bloghercon out in the blog community (positive and negative of course) but to even comment on it here, I have reached my limit. I also have a business to run and a life besides.

So, I may continue to point to someone's pithy remarks and comment now and then, but mostly, now that I've been assimilated into the tagging crowd, I'm going to tag posts I think are relevant in del.i.cious.

You can find my Bloghercon-tagged posts here. There are 31 posts there so far. Bear in mind: not all of these mention Bloghercon specifically, some just reference the current drama swirling around the blogosphere about diversity (or lack thereof) in blogging...or rather lack of diversity in blogging voices that bubble to the top.

Phew. I feel better now. Talk about Information Overload!

UPDATE: As Scott Rafer so properly points out, you can also track at Feedster, here. (GIven I'm no Technorati fangirl, it's surprising I made that ommission.)

One really angry customer

I direct you to an old post on this blog about Earthlink starting a blog. (It's old in INternet years, since it is from all the way back in January.)

Check out the comments.

Check out one very pissed off customer who if finding anyone talking on the web about Earthlink and trying to have her say.

This person found my post by doing a Google search on 'comments about Earthlink.' This blog post was on about page 3 of the results.

Now, I don't have the time or inclination to go to other hits on that search and see if she made similar ranting comments on other sites. I'm just saying it seems she's quite motivated to get her complaint heard by anyone and everyone. And the Internet is very helpful for people who want to do that.

Now what if hit #1 on her search had been, in fact, that Earthlink blog, and what if unhappy customer felt she had a place to go where she could reach what seemed to be a living person? And why didn't that Earthlink blog show up in the search? Wel, that last question is easy: they started a blog but weren't sure about the concept. So they named the blog protectionblog.net. No Earthlink in the blog name, therefore no Earthlink in every post name, therefore no awesome search engine optimization. It's like they started a blog, but wanted to be able to disavow it.

I can't help Ms. Unhappy Customer. IN fact, she's helping me expose a cautionary tale to people who wonder why they should bother have an active, dynamic, proactive web presence...like, for example, a blog.

Monday, March 21, 2005

David Duchovny Blogs?

I have as much skepticism as the next gal, but I surely do hope that Lions Gate Entertainment is starting the rather forward-looking practice of having their movie directors blog.

First out of the gate is David Duchovny, director of the upcoming House of D. And this is his blog.

They have comments, feeds, his latest post is an audio post, and they even provide links to Blogger to let you create a "fan blog."

Now, when you read this it seems clear to me that the first series of posts may have come from Duchovny's writings, but they were cleaned up by someone. All of the posts are perfectly punctuated and capitalized, and it's basically one long story of how he thought of the movie's main concepts, broken into smaller chunks and spread out over several days. I do this kind of thing all the time with info I've gotten from people over at 42nd St. Moon for thei blog. for example.

BUt I'm betting that somewhere along the line Duchovny got clued in to the comments he was getting, and I think he decided that he was going to post himself in real-time. The posts get longer, less careful, less neat and tidy, and they also start getting hundreds of comments. Think people sensed the change? I do. That's why Zach Braff also gets an amazing number of comments on his blog.

There are a couple of other director blogs, and supposedly more coming.

As a former X-Files fan and a Duchovny admirer, I'm kind of tickled he's got this blog going. I hope he keeps it going. And I hope it stays something that he feels connection to. In his own words:

"It's a real pleasure and opportunity to have this kind of communication directly."

I think he's getting that the benefits of blog go in both directions.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Testing Moblogging

-----Original Message---
OK, I've been meaning to try this. And yes, it seems to be as easy as they say.

Now I'm going to test out providing a link by giving you the instructions about how to moblog via your Blogger account here.

PS-yes typing in URLs via a mobile device is kind of a pain.

These words brought to you by Ogo. Find out more at www.ogo.com

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Not to bore you with Bloghercon, but...

Don't want to commit Bloghercon overload on those readers who aren't all about the blogs, so just a brief note to let you know that I made a post on my personal blog regarding some of the misinformation floating around about Bloghercon. Enjoy the not-so-softer side of me.

Authenticity in enterprise blogging

I've been listening all day to a fantastic 12-hour "Wall to Wall Sondheim" tribute concert to composer Stephen Sondheim on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

They just wrapped an panel on pop culture, moderated by Frank Rich, and featuring Sondheim himself, Joss Whedon and others.

Sondheim said something very pithy about composing, and trying to incorporate modern rock sounds into his scores. He said that he could try to "imitate" it, but because of the generation he was born into, it would never be suffused with "love." The sounds simply wasn't in his blood. If he wrote songs paying tribute to Arlen or Kern or Rodgers & Hammerstein, then he could do that since he had one foot still in their era. But he didn't have one foot forward into the rock generation. And Sondheim mentioned that composers of his generation had tried it to little success.

Why did this make me think of enterprise blogging? Key concept: authenticity vs. imitation.

Multitasker that I am I was also reading this column in the WaPo about business blogging, specifically executive bloggers who simply seem to be spouting press release information.

I could take some exceptions with this article: if they're going to let Jonathan Schwartz diss Jeremy Wright's Ebay auction, they could have at least linked to Jeremy, if not actually gotten his response. True, perhaps no one outside blogging circles would know who Schwartz is referring to, but still.

The article also disses two corporate blogs that I happen to think are OK. The GM Blog may not be completely fascinating, but they do some things right. Every few posts they make sure to respond to comments they have received on blog posts. And they manage to respond in rather indignant ways to criticism out in the press: hardly the kind of content you get in a press release. And frankly I think Rich Marcello's blog is rather unique in the way he veers from the prosaic to the poetic. That does sound like authenticity to me.

There's a lot of room for a lot of different kinds of blogs in this world, even a lot of different kinds of corporate or enterprise blogs.

Yes, you need an authentic voice, but I hasten to add that authentic means individual which means it doesn't have to sound like yours does! Jonathan's blog is pretty amazing. Long, detailed posts. He obviously spends a lot of time on it. And that's terrific...for him and his readers. But we need to leave a little room for those who aren't going to write like that. Press releases in your blog? No way! Long, technically detailed posts required? Not necessarily.

And can someone be hired to write your blog? Depends. Let's circle back to Sondheim. I can blog for 42nd St. Moon. Theatre is in my blood. I blog with love.

I can blog for the Democratic Party. I blog with love.

And some of my new projects coming up deal with other things I care about. I happen to have lots of interests. Technology, social media, marketing, mobility, politics, the arts, home & garden, books, movies, music and so on. If you find a topic I'm not interested in, I'll guarantee you I won't try to write a blog about it.

Because it takes passion to be authentic. Maybe it takes love.

Ten Tips for Ten Million Women

Kirsten Osolind, the entrepreneur responsible for re:invention inc, has started a regular series on Saturdays: Ten Million Tips for Ten Million Women. The tips comes from various female entrepreneurs. And Installment #3 comes from yours truly, the Queen Bee of Worker Bees.

Here it is.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Some concrete ways for an enterprise to use RSS

Elizabeth Albrycht has a nice list of 10 ways an enterprise can use RSS to communicate effectively with their customers, partners, industry press and more.

But here is my beef with all RSS-touting posts these days...they're making lots of assumptions about their audience's familiarity with the technology. Here's my familiarity (because remember, I'm not a techno-geek guru...I'm that bridge between the offline marketing folks and the online techno-geek guru world):

On all of my blogs I have the option to make a feed public and accessible (or even private, but accessible to whomever I choose.) So, looking at Elizabeth's fine list I find myself wondering...do I need a separate blog for each of these uses? And the answer is 'probably yes'. Although, from what I'm told, you could do your own fooling around with html and scripts and achieve the same goal, it would be reinventing the blog application wheel.

It would just be nice if people could think of the less technically inclined in such posts and make the process a little clearer. Maybe they realize that RSS feed is nearly synonymous with blog, unless you have a web person who's willing to get fancy, but for the rest of us it sounds a bit like you wave a wand and say "RSS feed - activate!"

Just a tiny quibble. But I liked the post content very much :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

My reaction to more Bloghercon reaction

Now, there's one man in the blogosphere who has thought a lot lately about diversity, particular gender diversity in our online community. Jon Garfunkel has done quite a bit of research to provide first, a timeline of online discussions about women and blogging. He then goes a step further and discusses the shift from talking into action. I think it's a great baseline to understand the background here. As Lisa has said, we don't think we invented the wheel here. And I don't mean to imply he's the only man with thoughtful comments on the subject. He's not.

Unfortunately not all men have the same reaction. Some feel it's personal, and some feel they're being asked to apologize for their skin color and gender. (If they want to feel attacked, I wonder what they think of Elliott's suggestion here...and what they would say if a woman had made it?) Predictably, Dave Winer is a little leery of Bloghercon. SO then we have a series of reactions to that. First from Sue's Place: her take on Dave's post, and his reaction to her take. (I hope he doesn't think our early posts on Bloghercon had male-bashing in it?) Then Dave's friend Sylvia Paull responds to Dave. Finally, Lisa's response to Dave. Here's where you can vote on the issue of male attendance. Frank at Sandhill Trek adds Lisa to his list of "New Voices" to track and mentions Bloghercon, then later, he addresses Lisa's question of whether men should attend. He likes the "toppling" we're trying to do. I think I like to be a toppler! Co-organizer, Eleanor weighs in...and makes her strong case for no boys allowed. (She knows I disagree, but we've agreed to disagree quite amicably.) And then she re-visits the topic after our meeting Sunday where it was discussed at length. I agree with Elle that we need strong moderation in any case. In the end, Ashley Richards has some really rational things to say about it, and I wish she had comments on her blog, so I could tell her so.

Then there are other voices: Shelley at Burningbird continues to be required reading. I know she has put off some notable people with her strong language and metaphors, but make no mistake: she is articulating something that many of us don't have the guts to say out loud. I have heard this and more from some of the nicest, men-loving women you could meet. And Elayne Riggs is just one of them.

Mike Rowehl brings up a fascinating point: that if we want to increase our network, our reach, our influence, we have to include the tool developers in our discussion...it's the tools and how they work that partly drives how the network works. Of course, he might be just a teeny bit biased, since he works for blog search tool Feedster.

Susan Mernit likes the idea. She even offered her help on one of my blog posts. I have to admit I'm kind of surprised to notice she doesn't allow comments, so I could thank her for her post. Susan, was this always the way with your blog?

Liz Ditz seems to be conflicted about the concept. Let me just say, she says two things which are always included in any of my rants about blogging: 1. blogging is just a tool, like a pencil and paper and 2. Blogging does not equal political blogs. DefinitiveInk makes a similar point. I might add that the diaristic (is that a word?) bloggers are just a afflicted with blinders as the politico-journalistic bloggers. Some of them seem very offended that blogs can be used as a business tool. Or rather that we one would dare to sully blogging's good name by doing so.

Full Circle is a good, ongoing source of commentary on Bloghercon and discussions of gender issues in general.

Standard Deviance gets part of the Bloghercon mission, but misses the final point...which is to strengthen our own network and eventually link to existing networks. One big happy family (eventually) you know?

Tony Gentile has a rather amusing take on it...in fact I'm going to line up to get tips in my tip jar. Yes, Tony, we see the irony. No, Tony, I don't think Elle was being particularly divisive to begin with, and no, Tony, I think it's quite the opposite of playing the victim to decide to get together and figure out a strategy to figure out what we want and how to get it.

And finally Bloghercon gets mentioned several times on this bluggcast. Yes, you heard me it's a bluggcast. They interview Dave Winer and ask him about it. Come on you cute little aliens, ask Lisa and me if you want to know about Bloghercon. I want my voice to sound like that too!

Frankly, Bloghercon is getting mixed up in a lot of other conversations: mixed in with, and assumed to be connected directly to: Steven Levy's Newsweek piece, and Chris Nolan's response to it, and Keith Jenkins' conference thoughts

No, another finally: this made me laugh out loud...and God knows after trying to keep up with all of the above chatter, I needed a good laugh. Check out how Nostradamus predicted the rise and fall of white male bloggers here. For those afflicted with an ironyectomy, this would be categorized as humor were it the only cite in this post.

OK, that's it. I've been working on this post, and collecting these links long enough. Damn. Perhaps I just should have posted the Google (over 9000 hits!) and Technorati (only 42?) Bloghercon search results. Why did I just think of that now?

What you cannot say in Email...unfortunate argument for blog promotion

Thanks to Sarah Eaton, I found this pithy rant about email spam filters.

The point is that there are words, not even dirty words, not even words like viagra and cialis and enlargement (God forbid you run a photography lab) that will stop your email cold at the major ISPs and mail providers. If SBC doesn't catch it, Hotmail will, guys.

And they will catch these words (and your email) even though you've got the most solid double opt-in permissions-based mails going out. Doesn't seem fair. It's really not fair. But the fact is that the bad apples have spoiled the whole bunch, dear.

NOw, I've been a big opponent of wild, sweeping claims that email is dead, email newsletters are dead etc. I don't believe RSS, nor blogs, are in the position of completely replacing tried and true methods of marketing quite yet. RSS adoption and blog reading lag far behind the simple stat of who's got email.

BUt if things continue as they are, and there's no reason to imagine otherwise, then you can bet that email as a marketing method or even as a customer communication tool will go the way of the dinosaurs.

It is becoming too unreliable.

It is taking too much time with your thesaurus to get around the increasing number of no-no words.

It will be, long-term, inefficient.

So, get your feet wet with blogging and RSS now...because if you wait until it is the de facto email replacement tool, you'll be playing catch-up.

An extra Veggie column for Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz edition of Metro requested a column rather last minute last week. Luckily I had a real-life experience to talk about. The column is about the lines of distinction we draw, somewhat arbitrarily in my opinion, between us and various thems.

Of course I read it all before announcing Bloghercon, and reading it now it takes on some new resonance for me.

You can read it here.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Some Bloghercon reaction begs for clarification

Not all the reactions to Bloghercon out there in blogland has been welcoming and warm. A few people have raised some issues, or made some complaints about what they think the Bloghercon "mission" is. So I thought I'd post a brief response to the most common challenges:

1. We are not saying there aren't enough women bloggers.
We know there are tons of them. By some reports it's more than half, other a little less than half. Suffice to say, bloggers are evenly split between men and women. We just want to provide a platform for any women bloggers who are interested to come together, network and brainstorm about blogging.

2. We are not claiming that we're going to focus on how to get into the Technorati Top 100.
In my own post I say: "I am a bit torn personally. You see, every time I ask the question, "why are there so few women in the Technorati Top 100?", my next thought is, "Who cares about the Technorati Top 100? Is that a desirable measure? And if not, then what is?"

I'm not saying I want to be in that list. I'm saying is that list even worth something as a measure? And if it isn't, what is? Some folks think we're whining about getting in the Top 100, and then tell us to reject the Top 100. And that is not the point. For women who do want to get the most out of their blog, they need to figure out what would make them feel they had successfully done so. I don't actually have the answer, even for myself on that question...but the conference is really about trying to figure that out: what do we want, and how can we get it?

3. A few take issue with the concept that women hit "roadblocks".
Well, of course everyone hits roadblocks. And again, in my original post I wonder if maybe women sometimes create our own. And certainly some men hit the very same roadblocks as women. My personal feeling is that women do hit gender-oriented roadblocks, whether conscious or sub-conscious, out there in almost any male-dominated segment of society. There are people who disagree with me, surely.

The story about symphony orchestras that Malcolm Gladwell tells in Blink resonates very strongly with me, because it doesn't claim that people were evil or consciously oppressive; they were just inadvertently slaves to their unconscious bias.

4. Rest assured, for me, the baseline assumption for any blogger is that they like to blog and care about content.
To me, writing good content goes without saying. Perhaps I should have said, though. I'm a big fan of the passionate, authentic blogger. I just think the topics can vary from personal to business topics without destroying one's ability to be both passionate and authentic.

Listen, Lisa and I are out there soliciting feedback from people who would be interested in attending, to find out how to make it worthwhile, proactive...more than a bitch session, more like a strategy session. We don't have all the answers yet, nor do we think that our personal taste and goals should dictate the entire agenda.

Personally I'm not much of a kumbayah, find-my-wild-woman leaning person. (Some would say I've got the wild woman thing down.) I'm fascinated by blogs as a communications and business tool. That's my bias...we need to hear other people's opinions, so it's not E/LisaCon; it's Bloghercon.

See Lisa's latest post, soliciting votes on including men here.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

You know how when you buy a car you suddenly see it everywhere?

I can't be the only one who experiences the phenomenon. You buy a car, and suddenly you notice every one on the road. There are tons of them. You had never thought too much about Saturns or Audis or whatever before, but now, now your fellow enthusiast are all around you.

No sooner did Lisa and I publicly propose Bloghercon, then I start seeing gender discussions everywhere! (Well, okay, it's not like gender discussions weren't already in the news, what with Larry Summer, Carly Fiorina, Estrich vs. Kinsley and so on.)

Now, Maureen Dowd publishes an Op-Ed on the dearth of women on the "dishing it out" business.

The column kind of wavers between saying that women, by their nature, may not like the actual dishing out as much as men. BUt there's also the idea that men are much more proactive self-promoters. Which is all very ironic, given I found myself moved this morning by this piece Dave Winer wrote in 1998 about men not being good self-PR people. The thing is I buy both propositions. I think when it comes to their personal selves and their personal relationships, men may be more likely to be the "silent types" Dave describes. But when it comes to their professional selves, their public selves, I think they are more likely to be the confident and aggressive types that Maureen describes. And then of course, there are the exceptions to every single gender rule you could ever think up.

Maureen closes with this statement:

This job has not come easily to me. But I have no doubt there are plenty of brilliant women who would bring grace and guts to our nation's op-ed pages, just as, Lawrence Summers notwithstanding, there are plenty of brilliant women out there who are great at math and science. We just need to find and nurture them.

Yes, but at a certain point it's not "we" who must do so, it is a very specific "they." Dowd, in an apparent fit of "niceness", doesn't throw the gauntlet down in front of the mythic "they" (one of whom, after all is her boss.) "We" can find. "We" can nurture. "We" being men and women. But it is all for naught if the "They" who have the power to promote, advance and hire don't do so. What "we" can do is speak up. If you hear a new voice you like, whether male or female, speak up and ask to hear more. If "they" don't give that brilliant person the platform they deserve, howl with protest.

Thanks to Larry Borsato for the initial link.

More on the c|net article on Blogging and Work

I mentioned earlier that I had been cited in a c|net article, which was certainly great for traffic. I didn't actually get around to reading it until yesterday. I noticed the same deficiencies that other bloggers did: a noticeable negative attitude that is hardly borne out by what's actually happened. Then, Tim Bray published a list of the reasons blogging is good for your career, and perfectly outlined what c|net could have covered to balance their article.

There seems to be a glut of mainstream media coverage of blogging lately, but one is hard-pressed to describe any of the coverage positive. Perhaps this is always the way when a new solution traverses the path from early adoption to mass adoption: skepticism and scare tactics...followed by the Eureka moment, followed by praise and promotion (and preening over who "championed" it first.)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Site of the Week: New Client - Subvert Productions

Welcome to new Worker Bees client, Subvert Productions and their smash comedy hit, I Look Like an Egg, But I Identify As A Cookie.

You get live comedy and fresh-baked cookies...who could ask for a more perfect evening?

Heather Gold bakes cookies and talks about life, sometimes with guest bakers (!) in an intimate and interactive setting at the Hotel Rex in San Francisco. She's gotten rave reviews and the show has extended multiple times. It's now running through at least the end of April. She plays Sunday and Monday nights.

Worker Bees customers get 1/3 off all tickets by using the promotion codes described here.

They've also added a special new $10 ticket price for anyone showing a student ID.

Check out the URL for full details and to find quotes from her reviews, pictures from the show...even a trailer.

Hey, even Boing Boing called the show "damn funny!"

Check it out. There's a show this Sunday at 8PM. I'll be there, will you?

Blogger comments down...and do I have to finally learn tagging?

Apparently, Blogger comments aren't working, although they don't seem to specifically know it yet. it's not just me everyone, when I try to leave comments on your fine blogs I can't either...same message...blog not found. Grrrr.

Nancy wants us to start tagging all our Bloghercon posts. I have thus far completely resisted tagging. It seems like the ultimate techno-geeky toy that is more work than it's worth.

But I suppose like the BOrg, resistance is futile. And don't think because I quote that I have any personal knowledge of what that meant on Star Trek. See, I rub up against the land of techno-geek, enough to occasionally speak the language, but I've never quite made it to feeling like a native.

But here, in all its glory, is my first-ever tagging attempt:

Reactions to Bloghercon...

...are coming in fast and furious.

-My partner-in-crime Lisa Stone (aka Surfette) and I are playing "tag, you're it" with our post references here.

-Halley gives us the briefest of plugs, but coming from her that's enough to have already given me multiple hits.

-Charlene Li from Forrester is well-known in the blogging community for shedding light on the impact of the blogopshere on the "real" world. She plugs Bloghercon, while adding not just a little bit of her own commentary here

-Chris Jablonski over at the DataPoint blog on zdnet. he saw it on Charlene's blog first.

-And one of Charlene's commenters writes his own post, which raises some valid points...like, really, isn't all this linking crap going to become totally unimportant eventually? But I also think he misses some of the point. I tried to post a comment to the post. I'm not sure if it's moderated, or I just somehow screwed it up. So here's how I tried to respond: "Hi there: Thanks for posting about Bloghercon. It is exactly the first point I make in my Bloghercon post that the meme "where are the women" is frustrating because, as I put it: we are right here. Certainly WE don't wonder where the women are. It's not particularly the world of "personal publishing" I care about at all. Blogging is becoming regularly used as not just a personal publishing tool, but a marketing and communications and business tool. Blogs are being leveraged to get people business. That business might be writing, speaking, journalism, punditry, consulting gigs or just a new job in a given area of interest.
So, this is intended to be a very practical conference. We want to ask how women attending want to leverage their blogs, and then figure out how to help ourselves do that.

-Nancy White rises to our challenge of articulating how we would measure our success at her blog.

-Cabin Master mentioned Bloghercon, commented on our blogs, and pointed us to an earlier post she had written on blogging and women. She has a different view, perhaps more closely aligned with Roger above, that
women should blog if they want to blog, not blog if they don't want to, and screw the endless memes about women blogging!

-Elayne Riggs mentions it here and highlights a new reality of online communications: if you email someone and you don't want it blogged, you better say so!

-Dare mentions it here, and seems to miss the same point that Charlene's commenter above did. Look, WE KNOW there are tons of women bloggers. I think Dare raises an interesting point about other segmentation, though. In real life, race and gender are hard to hide. You can hide religion, nationality, sexual orientation. But they're going to know if you're black/Asian/Latino, and they're going to know if you're a chick. Online...if you choose to use your real name of course...race becomes a mystery, as do many other traits. Gender can much more often be identified simply by the name. Not sure where I'm going with that, just throwing it out there. BTW: Dare's site is kind of wigging out, but if you're patient it eventually loads.

-And last, but not least, Joe at Butts in the Seats doesn't plug Bloghercon, but does vow to finally add this blog to his blog roll, based on reading my Bloghercon post. I added him to mine immediately after we first started exchanging comments/post mentions. He didn't, and now he feels guilty. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Now the cat can really be let out of the bag: Welcome to Bloghercon.

A few weeks ago Lisa Stone and I shared a long, interesting lunch in Palo Alto, and emerged at the end with an idea for a great conference: Bloghercon. Truth be told our first idea was Bloggirlcon, but as Lisa recounts here in her Bloghercon announcement, luckily she was presented with an even better moniker.

We've each been sharing our concept with a few women bloggers we know, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Lisa outlines some of her thoughts in the aforementioned post.

And here are some of mine:

If I was going to give you just two links to read, they would be: Shelley's recent and hysterical satire of men and their links and Chris Nolan's response to the Larry Summer brou-ha-ha.

Men, as well as women, have been asking, "Where are the women?" And we have been responding...we're right here. That the same question is being asked now as was asked one year ago or two years ago is frustrating, but the real question is: what, if anything, do women bloggers want to do about it?

There's room in Bloghercon for philosophical discussion on questions like:

-Is blogging genderless? If you didn't know a blogger's name, could you always tell their gender? And does it matter?
-If, as Shelley claims, links are the powerful talisman of the male blogger, and to women sometimes a link is just a link, then what do women want to get out of blogging?
-How can such a new medium already have an "old boy's club"? Or is this just a continuation of an existing club? Does certain content make a woman an acceptable mascot for that club, while other kinds of expression will keep us out?
-Do women marginalize themselves without any help from men? What drives us to do that?

Even more importantly, Lisa and I want to have a Bloghercon to take action:

-Do we care if there is and old boy's club-does it affect us? Do we want to be part of that club? Do we want to change the club?
-If we care, then how can women promote women, without being dismissed as a sewing circle? And should we? Is creating a women's network the answer, or do we really seek gender-transparency?
-Where are the other barriers? And what are we trying to break through those barriers to do?
-What would be measurable success? If we had a Bloghercon again in a year what would cause us to pat ourselves on the back and say "job well done"?

I am a bit torn personally. You see, every time I ask the question, "why are there so few women in the Technorati Top 100?", my next thought is, "Who cares about the Technorati Top 100? Is that a desirable measure? And if not, then what is?"

We can all acknowledge that there are different kinds of bloggers, and some will never care about links and traffic and being quoted...that's not why they blog. But there's a whole group of women bloggers who are creative and expressive, but also ambitious and driven about their blogging.

How do we all increase our individual satisfaction within the group endeavor that is the blog community? That's what Bloghercon will explore.

So, to echo Lisa's challenge:

"So: Do you want Bloghercon? And, if so, why and how?"

Visit Lisa and me and let us know a) if you're interested, b) if you'd like to help and c) what you'd like to get out of Bloghercon.

PS-Yes, this is the evolution of the bloggirlcon concept Sylvia mentioned in her blog.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Yeah Baby! Shel Holtz Nails It!

Marketer, blogger, podcaster, author Shel Holtz hits the nail on the head in this post about evolving media tools and appropriately skewers the concept that blogs "kill" anything.

I've posted about this often. I cover this is presentations I give on the blogging topic. I've even argued the point during post-conference cocktail hours and been nearly bitch-slapped by prominent blog personalities for what was seen as a contrarian view that blogs might not be quite past the "tipping point."

I love Shel's point that print still exists; radio still exists; faxes still exist; magazines still exist; TV still exists etc. Hell, you can add on to that: libraries still exist; bookstores still exist; landlines still exist. Lots of things that were predicted to die out, from a communications/information point of view, didn't.

This reminds me of something I learned from a schoolteacher friend of mine years ago: people learn in different ways. Some are visual learners...they learn by seeing or reading. Some are auditory learners...they learn by hearing. And some are kinesthetic learners...they learn by doing or experiencing.

Given that lack of uniformity in how humans best process information, how can we expect that only one way of communicating information to humans will survive?

All I continue to say is: let's not get carried away and forget the fundamentals of marketing: the point is to meet a market's needs and create the message that will let the market know that need is being met. That message may come in many forms, and it depends on how your customer wants to receive that message, not how you think they should receive it.

Great c|net Mention: One Point of Clarification

Welcome c|net readers.

I was not personally interviewed for the article. The c|net writer may have found info on me from profiles done of my business on both about.com and vault.com.

I appreciate the mention and the traffic.

I do feel I should make one point of clarification, though:

It is true that I have leveraged blogging to make a living. I leveraged the blog to land my column in the Metro. I do get paid to blog for some local theatre companies, including 42nd St. Moon and Foothill Music Theatre. I have other paid enterprise blogging gigs about to be launched as well.

The gig blogging for the Santa Clara County Democratic Party, however, is a volunteer gig. I am a political activist and have maintained that blog with professional standards, but volunteer compensation :)

Thanks for coming by. Feel free to browse around or visit any of my other Worker Bees blogs listed in the side bar.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Pheedo's Case for Adding Blogs/RSS to Your Marketing Mix

Can't argue with any of Bill Flitter's points here.

I'm glad to see the voice of reason prevailing and this entire pitch being geared toward adding blogs/RSS to the mix, rather than trying to make these new marketing techniques replace, wholesale, tried and true methods.

Upside: Excellent, and succinct run-down of the primary reasons blogs/RSS are a good enterprise marketing idea.

Downside: Bill does, however, succumbs to my pet peeve spelling error: in the introductory paragraph he means "complement" not "compliment."

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Inaugural 10 Tips for 10 Million Women...I'm up in 2 weeks

Kirsten Osolind at re:invention Consulting is my kind of woman.

She brings up serious issues for women business people and entrepreneurs. She believes strongly in womentorship and creating a strong old gal's network, but she's not above having a link to the "Shoe of the Week" on her site and above telling some women to take a chill pill occasionally.

She has started a new weekly feature on her blog, scheduled to be a Saturday post:

10 Tips for 10 Million Women

Each week a woman entrepreneur will provide her 10 tips for starting and running a business.

The inaugural 10 Tips for 10 Million Women features Yvonne DiVita author of perhaps the best-titled marketing book around: Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online.

I had the pleasure of meeting Yvonne in January at the NewComm Forum in Napa. We had a great time talking the first evening of the conference. One of those wonderful putting a face with a name events.

I've already turned in my contribution to the 10 Tips series, and it will run in 2 weeks, on 3/19/05.

Yvonne's 10 Tips are great, and I only see one little tip where we knock heads a bit: it's in her tip #4 about referrals (vs. "networking".) First, I think I define networking a little differently than Yvonne's definition. Second, I think referrals are great, once you have a base of clients to work for the referrals. But what if you're just starting and looking for a little visibility? Don't get me wrong, I've gotten clients through referrals, no doubt about it. But I also see the value of networking for getting your name/face in front of a different crowd that you might never meet via referrals alone.

But, you'll just have to read my 10 Tips in 2 weeks to really compare our two philosophies.

Bookmark or subscribe to the re:invention blog, and you'll get a treat...especially every Saturday!

Stay tuned for the Worker Bees 10 Tips on March 19th.

Friday, March 04, 2005

This Week's Site of the Week: High-end Search

What could "high-end" search possibly be?

Well, check out this week's Site of the Week, Ahop2.com, and wou will find out.

It's a human edited, visually-oriented search engine that purports to bring you only the best of the best within particular genres. It's not trying to be information-oriented, but rather commerce-oriented. Where to find the best furniture stores, the best art photography etc. etc.

I was fairly skeptical when I met the founder of Ahop2 on Tuesday evening. I have a new appreciation for the site after playing with it for a while today. And the potential to keep honing their results and adding new categories and improving the experience seems limitless. This might be the place you go when you want to buy something really perfect, not just cheap.

Check it out

Why Can't This Theatre Get Bloggers To Come?

A few weeks ago I read in the Butts in the Seats Blog that Impact Theatre in the East Bay was offering to give a free ticket to bloggers who met their "requirements."

Today Butts reports that Impact has been very disappointed with the response from blogland.

When I review the Impact "Offer" I can see right off the top that the tone and details of the offer are designed to deter bloggers, although I certainly don't think Impact had that intent. I tried to post the following comment, but his comments weren't working for me, so instead I'm going to post my thoughts here.

I think there's a lesson here for any business who wants to (warning: dreaded word approaches) "pitch" bloggers:

My Comment

I can see a few quick things about Impact's "offer" that would turn off many in blogland, not the least of which is the tone...which makes it sound like they're doing the blogger some big favor.

1. "Help us spread the word about Impact!"
Bloggers are about as resistant to becoming someone's shill as can be. If you want me to see your show and write about it, I will. Don't think I'm doing it to help YOU spread the word. I'm doing it to help my READERS decide how to spend their entertainment dollars...just like any critic.

2. Why does this person think they are offering bloggers "legitimacy" by setting rules for the blogger (unless they set the same rules for critics from every print/online publication?) That silver platter comment? Says it all about this guy's "outreach" to bloggers.

3. The request for stat reports is a bit rich coming from a teeny little theatre like Impact. I would balk at that, mostly because it would be a pain...For example, I have readers on Bloglines, on Kinja, on Syndic8. I have readers I capture via my web stats counter. And I have readers I CAN'T capture because they read me via news aggregators that DON'T tell you how many people are subscribing to you...like Newsgator, NetNewsWire and the like. And readers' localities...also less likely to be top of a blogger's mind.

If an advertiser from whom I expect to generate *revenues* wants to dig all into my traffic stats, that is a deal with the devil I might be up for. But to save the price of a $10-15 ticket, I'm going to jump through hoops AND feel like they're expecting me to be a marketing tool for them?

I don't think so.

Perhaps some of the above is why Impact has gotten such a disappointing response? I'm just guessing.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Another Worker Bees Theatre Discount

Minnie's Boys opens at 42nd St. Moon on 3/30/05 and runs for three weekends at the Eureka Theatre. The show is the story of the Groucho brothers and their early pre-fame days. Perennial tenor solo favorite Mama, A Rainbow is from this show. Local fave Darlene Popovic is starring as their indomitable mother, Minnie. And yes, I've been waiting for some time to use the word "indomitable" in my blog!

You can get all sorts of scoop about it and the theatre at the 42nd St. Moon blog.

And if you want to buy tickets, you can 20% off all tickets, excluding Sunday matinees, by using the promotion code ONLINE. Promotion only available when ordering via phone at 415-978-2787.

I can't go to the official Opening Night on April 1st (yes April Fool's Day...which seems quit apropos) because I have Sting tickets, so I'll probably go that Sunday because there's a meet-the-cast discussion after the show.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Want to Watch a Book Being Written?

Well, you can over at The Red Couch, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's blog chronicling their process of writing a book about blogging.

And it's really far more than a chronicle. They are actually posting things like their Table of Contents, their proposal etc. and soliciting open feedback and commentary.

On the one hand it's undeniably a cool idea. Not only for interested folks who will be able to see the book take place, and if they care to, try to shape it. But also for the authors who are basically getting free editing, advice, proofreading etc. from a slew of mostly qualified people.

I would be concerned that they'll kill a bit of their own buzz marketing potential by doing it this way. Why? Because word of mouth starts with the early adopters. They get something; they like it; they pass on the info to the next circle of folks. When their book finally comes out I would be just a little apprehensive that it might already be old hat to the folks who would normally be all abuzz about its release. Probably not a real problem for these folks, given their blogland celebrity...but I'm not sure the totally transparent method would work for lesser-know authors.

The recently posted their first chapter on the blog. Truth is I wanted to like it more than I actually did. The main problem to me is one of tone and one of citation.

Tone: throughout the chapter they speak rather derisively abut the "hyperbole" and "hubris" of marketing-speak. I actually agree. I would only say that they fall into that very hyperbolic language themselves. Many of their statements didn't pass the gut-test. The sweeping and dramatic predictions or even analysis of the past felt over-played. And that wasn't helped by the complete lack of...

Citation: If you're going to imply that any company who didn't get a web site died, better have at least one good example. If you're going to claim blogging has the fastest adoption rate ever, I'm sorry I want to know how you come to that conclusion.

Now, this Chapter One may really be more of an Introduction than a real first chapter.

If that's so, make it clear. Tell us you're going to dig deeper in coming chapters. My apprehension in reading this chapter is that the authors think they can throw out statements like "Today, they [blogs] are the best way to make your company more profitable, grow faster, or get your product more rapidly adopted" once and having "established" their premise, move on to talk about the "how".

Probably not a fair apprehension, but there it is.

If you want to watch the book-writing and publishing process, The Red Couch is the place for you. In the end the transparency of their process may be more interesting than the final product. We shall see.

A mainstream media story on blogs that gets it right: plain and simple

Great, hyperbole-free article. And I must confess to being surprised it comes from the venerable Wall Street Journal. Other mainstream outlets, like the NY Times and WaPo can't seem to do stories that aren't either completely threatened by those crazy bloggers, or completely obsessed with the most personal bloggers out there...as those wild-eyed troublemakers or confessional teenagers were the only two falvors bloggers came in.

This WSJ article covers ground I cover every time I present on enterprise blogging.

Blogging as marketing tool.

Blogging as customer outreach tool.

Blogging as search engine optimization tool.

It's clear-eyed, unthreatened and hype-free.

Good for them.

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