Friday, June 30, 2006

Yeah, this is wrong

I have been using Flock lately to write blog posts, and for some reason I do find it does encourage me to blog more often, because it feels more quick.

Saw this article by Jon Fine in BusinessWeek about bloggers who receive pay-per-post. And that the company facilitating these transactions isn't particularly concerned about whether bloggers disclose said arrangement or not. Similar complaints have been lodged against BzzAgent. Namely that they didn't used to encourage their Agents to disclose that's what they were. And even now that they supposedly encourage such disclosure, they certainly can't control it.

Yeah, I think this kind of shilling is wrong, no matter the medium.

Not criminal. Not actionable. But not particularly ethical. And oh, by the way, it happens in more traditional meda channels too, so let's not pretend it's only we evil bloggers doing it. But then we, as bloggers, have to step off our high horse a bit about traditional media if we get called out on the very same behaviors, don't we?

Point is: each source still has to establish its own credibility. Do you trust all newspapers...or do you trust the New York Times or the Washington Times or the World Weekly News? Do you trust all TV commentary shows...or do trust CNN or NPR or Fox News? See my point?

It's kinda that simple, isn't it?

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Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thoughts on Bloggercon over at Browster

Since client Browster makes a "Web 2.0" application (really, where are we drawing the line on this? It seems like every new product that is used on the Internet is being referred to as a Web 2.0 app, but can this be actually true?) I posted some of my post-Bloggercon thoughts over at the Browster Blog.

The user vs. developer dynamic at Bloggercon was interesting, and if you sometimes feel a little over-burdened as a user...with all these demands for feedback and bug reports and going to forums if you want help...then you might appreciate the post. I mean, my kingdom for an app that just works like it's supposed to work.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

BlogHer on Collaboration

Meant to post this yesterday, of course, so it was ahead of the fact instead of after the fact. Oh well. I spoke on collaboration, not organization!

Lisa, Jory and I spoke at the SD Forum SIG on collaboration.  The brief description:

From Hierarchy to Community

Elisa Camahort, Jory Des Jardins, and Lisa Stone of BlogHer discuss how three equal partners collaborate with each other and their community in a business world used to hierarchy.  Join us as they explore ways that organizations can collaborate with and set their organizations on fire, building engagement and personal investment without descending into anarchy or creating a pretense of democracy.

Many of the attendees were also simply interested in blogging itself, why people do it, and how blogging impacts journalism...the usual blogging topics

It was a small but really smart crowd...and a new crowd. There wasn't one face I had seen before (I don't think) the folks worked for mostly non-Web 2.0 folks, but were definitely interested in the Web 2.0 phenomenon.

All in all a refreshing experience. It's always fun when Lisa, Jory and I get to play off one another. Despite Dave's devotion to a single Discussion Leader at Bloggercon, I think he would have changed his mind if he could see the three of us do our thang.

Monday, June 26, 2006

BlogHer in the Austin American-Statesman

The Austin press has been good to BlogHer, what with the cover story before SXSW, and now article based on Pluck's press release announcing our partnership.

I'm guessing there aren't much better ways to position our web site's mission than their article headline:

Finding her voice on the Web

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

News from the Society for New Communications Research

The Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) of which I'm an Advisory Board member.

First they announced a call for nominations for the first annual SNCR awards. Here's the press release. The deadline for entries is Sept. 8, 2006. The online submission form can be found here.

And by the way, if you can think of a cool name for the Awards, I'm all ears. All I could come up with were the Commies or the SNiCkeRs...which were both rejected, oddly enough.

We also issued a call for papers for the first edition of the SNCR Journal of New Communications Research. Those interested should submit a project abstract of approximately 500 words via email to journal_submission [at] by August 1, 2006. Here is a lengthier description of the call for submissions...and what's very cool is that the submissions can be in any media format, not just literally "papers." I like that.

So check out what the SNCR is up to. Jen McClure is a powerhouse!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A blog marketer who's getting it right

It's a lot easier sometimes to point out what's life, wiht the world, with marketing, with the blogosphere. But it's good, just every now and then, to point to someone who is doing it right.

Meet Victoria Tsigonis from NYC "digital agency", WiredSet.

Victoria first emailed me a few weeks or even a couple of months ago. She thought, because of the writing I do on my 42nd St. Moon blog that I might be interested in a PBS series about the "Legends of Jazz."

What she did right? Well, she mentioned which blog she found me through. She mentioned why she thought I would be interested in the series. She provided lots of links to more info (and did not attach any annoying attachments!)

Still, I was only tangentially interested, didn't plan to watch the series, and didn't even respond.

A couple of weeks later Victoria emailed me again. She did reiterate that she'd love my opinion on the Legends of Jazz series or web site, but that she had a new project she thought was up my alley. This time it was a new Harry Connick Jr. album, "Harry on Broadway Act1." She included song clips. She offered to send me the album. She told me she would continue to forward me things she thought would be of interest, and she asked me for any feedback or suggestions or opinions I had.

So, she kept doing the right things, like personalization, even better relevance, openness to feedback.

I, again, didn't respond. I kept the emails...even in my Inbox, not in a file, but I didn't respond.

But today she emailed me a third time, and the third time was the charm.

See I recently wrote my review of the Tony Awards. In the review I commented that Harry Connick Jr. seemed a little uncomfortable.

Victoria emailed me again:
Thanks for posting about the Tony Awards! Its great that you posted how you honestly felt about the Awards and their winners! I was wondering if there is the possibility to post up some song clips from Harry's latest album to give your readers the opportunity to hear for themselves. Thanks for your time and enjoy the clips once again!

I had to give Victoria props. She clearly is still following my blog. (Or at least ego-searching for her clients.) And best of all, she is approaching me with respect and pleasantness. (You would be surprised the marketers who approach bloggers with, instead, a sense of entitlement and obnoxiousness!)

As far as I'm concerned, Victoria is doing her job and doing it well. She is persistent, but patient. If I wanted her to stop emailing me I could certainly tell her, but until I do, she is sending me info, not too often, and not too off my subject matter, and she is providing me with the tools to write about her clients if I so choose.

So, I finally did.

And I agreed to review the album.

And she singlehandedly turned me from a disinterested and non-responsive target to an engaged blogger who will end up blogging about her client not once, but twice, when all is said and done.

And that makes this a story about good marketing.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Respect Your EdlerBloggers Redux

When we put on our Respect Your ElderBloggers session at SXSW Interactive last March it was a well-attended and popular session. But we all felt a few more product developers should have showed up to find out what they're ignoring with their development and marketing plans.

Well, now there's an entire day-long conference devoted to the same idea, and even prizes to companies that present the best business plans for appealing to the baby boomer market.

Here's the run-down from Marty Silberstein, about the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit this Tuesday in Santa Clara:
Entrepreneurs around the world are developing products and services aimed at consumers age 40 and up. Learn where the market opportunities are from leading experts who invest in or serve the 40+ boomer consumer – and why this marketplace is the next big wave.

Each company that provides a solution for boomers will need to have a digital strategy.


* The top Internet business analyst, Safa Rashtchy, Piper Jaffray & Co. speaking on Internet business models that work – from the perspective of the entrepreneur and the VC

* A leading entrepreneur, Craig Newmark, craigslist, who changed the face of the Internet and the way in which we buy and sell furniture, find jobs and connect

Other program highlights:

* Learn where and why VCs are investing heavily in the boomer market
* Hear success stories from VC portfolio companies
* Hear the five finalists of the of 2006 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Capital Business Plan Competition – vying for the $10,000 Grand Prize – present their business plans to the Summit and the blue ribbon panel of judges. Be there when the winner is chosen.

EVENT: Second Annual Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit
DATE: Tuesday, June 20, 2006, 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
WHERE: Recital Hall, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053

On-site Registration - $325.00 (registrations received after June 15, 2006)
Half-day Registration and multiple attendee discounts available


It sounds like an info-packed day, and many a valley company would benefit from thinking about more than the MySpace generation. As a final note, I know that premiere elderblogger Ronni Bennett would want me to remind's not just about baby boomers...don't forget the elder market too!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Geekiness for one and all this week in San Francisco

OK everyone, it's time to get your Web 2.0 geekiness on this week, as the events are stacked up, just like pancakes on a Sunday morning. (This coming week we have Supernova, Bloggercon and BarCamp alone.)

And I join Tara Hunt in wanting to see girl geeks out in force this coming week at BarCamp, which come to think of it, is the only one still open to all-comers.

What is BarCamp?

The brief 'About' is:
BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees.

The longer "Rules" of BarCamp can be found here.

And yes, I believe there is actual camping going on for those who want to so indulge. Given it's being held at Microsoft's San Francisco offices I don't think it actually qualifies as roughing it, but sleeping bagging will be done by one and all. Tara promises a women's only sleeping bag area for those who prefer it, as well.

Look, stats show that women have raced ahead of men in every category as Internet users. So if Web 2.0 is really about the users (and not just who can be the geekiest of developers, as I sometimes suspect) then let's show up and rock BarCamp!

I'll be there Saturday after Bloggercon for sure...who's with me?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Gates so sad at Scoble's departure, he's stepping down... 2 years, that is.

Awwww. Poor Bill is gonna miss Robert so much he can't imagine the place without Robert around.

See, all you mean people making fun of the Beeb's coverage that included the sad sack Gates picture at left...he really was that sad!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Have Money, Will Vlog

Wanted to pass on this info from friend of BlogHer and Video Goddess, Ryanne Hodson:
I have just helped build and launch the site Have Money Will Vlog,a site built to fund videobloggers' projects.

The idea is that through a conscious choice to help fund independent media makers and video artists through small increments, $10, $20, $30 etc. we can put our money behind media that we want to see. Instead of spending $10 at the movies, spend $10 on a videoblogger! 100 people giving $10 is $1000 that can go a long way for a videoblogger.

Check out our first project, Human Dog: American King, to be funded at the site.

-Give us feedback/bug reports.
-Donate (as little as $10!)
-Send us a project idea you want funded.

Our About page will give you more info about how this works and what we're all about.

OK, I put my money where my blog is and donated a small amount. How about you?

BlogHer @ Bloggercon IV

Dave Winer, the Bloggercon mastermind is trying some different things for Bloggercon IV, including inviting other conference to come be part of the conversation. Ryanne Hodson will be leading a discussion about video blogging and recapping Vloggercon. Chris Pirillo will be leading a discussion about putting users in charge as a preview to Gnomedex, and I will be representin' for BlogHer in a session entitled Building Bridges.

When Dave and I started discussing what a BlogHer preview at Bloggercon should look like we considered more than one option. The idea of actually talking about BlogHer itself...the what, the why, the how it's different, etc. was tossed out, but frankly it felt too much like a commercial. Even more so, it felt like it might turn into an old argument about "where are the women bloggers."

So instead we decided to preview BlogHer by having the kind of session one might easily find on a BlogHer schedule, and here is the session abstract we agreed on:
Building Bridges
Numbers don't lie. Whether talking about Fortune 500 CEO chairs, media commentators or conference speaking rosters, women have been raising a stink for years about lack of representation. People are getting more savvy about *marketing* about diversity...making sure their emails and web sites and brochures feature every woman and minority they've got, but when you click through you're left thinking "is that all there is?" So, there's a dichotomy between the lip-service some men give about their interest in collaborating with women -- and the reality of how many men in power don't give women the platform or the megaphone. No wonder so many women are doing it for themselves -- the question is this: do we stick with popular, powerful his-and-hers conferences, or is there any possibility that we could come together and have a conference for humans? How? When? What would it look and act like? And what would it take?

(That bit about marketing is a new thing I've started paying attention to. I used to simply look at speaking rosters and comment on the male/female ratio. Now, I also look at the marketing pieces for said conferences and note the delta between the male/female ratio in the marketing material vs. the male/female ratio for the actual conference.)

The Bloggercon format is described here. Normally Lisa, Jory and I would tag team on a discussion like this, but Dave requires a single Discussion Leader only. Never fear, Jory and Lisa will be there, as will numerous other BlogHers. Bloggercon was probably the first conference to really emphasize that the audience is as smart as the panel and needs to be involved from word one. That is certainly a practice that BlogHer wholly and enthusiastically embraces.

The challenge, as always, in discussions like this is to keep focused on action and how to move forward, not on dissecting or defending the past. Should be an interesting time with this group of people on hand.

Bloggercon IV
Date: June 23/24
BlogHer Preview Session: Saturday, June 24 at 10:30AM-11:45AM
Location c|net offices: 235 Second Street San Francisco, CA 94105
Full schedule

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blog Post Frequency: Daily not required...but why?

Jory Des Jardins sent me over a MarketingProfs article by Eric Kintz that BlogHer Britt Bravo found, thinking I'd have something to say about it.

Mr. Kintz' thesis is that blog post frequency is no longer that important, and certainly daily posting is unnecessary...and in fact may be counter-productive.

Knowing that I write nine blogs and am quite committed to posting in them regularly I think Jory thught I might disagree with Kintz' entire thesis. In fact I don't, but I don't think his reasons are always the most succinct or relevant. (BTW-there are few of my nine blogs that I actually post in daily. Even if at one time I managed to do so with some of them, now with Blogher Conference '06 only two months way, there's just no way!)

So here are some points I made in my reply email to Jory and Britt:

1. Kintz makes a point that not many top corporate marketers blog themselves. He associates this with the barrier to entry blogging represents, in time and having something to say.

But, if I'm a marketer, why do I give a damn if *marketers* are blogging? I don't. I want to reach the people who might buy my product or service, right? So this whole barrier to entry thing is lame.

3. Along the same lines, I don't get his logic with this one:
"Just 13 percent reported using blogs or social networks in marketing, and 49 percent said they had no plans to do so in the next year. If the blogosphere wants to become more mainstream (vs. being the latest hype), frequent posting and required bandwidth are undoubtedly a major barrier to adoption."

First of all the fact that half of marketers do plan to market on blogs/social networks next year strikes me as pretty f-ing amazing.

Second of all, how does it follow, or how does he establish in any way that it is frequent posting and required bandwidth that is a major barrier to marketers wanting to market on blogs?

2. RSS, yeah, it's so cool. But mostly it's the digerati who use it so far. The numbers are very low. I totally agree that one must support RSS, and that one day it will be much more widespread. But again...who are you marketing to? The mass market of consumers, or small business owners or whatever, or digerati? If the latter, then yeah, this is a rationale, but other than that, it's just pretty irrelevant to the discussion.

4. Ah, he brings out this one:
"more and more companies will resort to partnering with their PR agencies to create blogs. The blogosphere will in turn lose some of its effectiveness and value."

This is my favorite piece of bloggerati conventional wisdom: because we all know that PR agencies aren't actually staffed with human beings or anything...yes, they're soulless robots who could never be authentic. Moreover, PR folks haven't had to adapt to stay in the business have they? No, they're absolutely incapable of understanding new modes of communication and adapting their work to include them. It's so narrow-minded. Sure, your marketing person may not be the person to blog for you, but it's not going to be because they're a marketing person.

So, it may then surprise you to hear that I completely agree with the basic thesis that daily posting is not required. Why *is* daily posting not critical: Because people are busy, and very few are actually going to miss you if you don't post daily. He mentions this, and this stuff is true. He also mentions another valid point: posting daily isn't worth it if the pressure to post daily is degrading either your content or your quality of life. Also, can't possibly argue about that.

However, Kintz and I might disagree on the definition of "quality content."

So why *are* companies served by at least frequent posting (maybe 3 times per week)?: Because blogging can be an excellent communications channel for establishing a more personal and invested relationship with your reader, customer, audience. If you only post once a week, even if it is a well-crafted, completely authentic piece, then you are establishing a level of formality with that relationship. People like to see the occasional less-careful, more off-the-cuff comments. They enjoy reactions to events that are happening now. If they wanted only less frequent, more "well-crafted" pieces they'd go read the white papers on your site. Blog a little more often, be a little more informal. That's a win-win.

IMHO, of course :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Valleywag reading just a teensy bit too much into Silicon Veggie

Not sure how or why, but fabulous Silicon Valley gossip, Nick from Valleywag, linked to my Silicon Veggie column this month. And what is his take-away on my review of upscale dim sum den, Sino?
In Silicon Valley, waiters forcibly stuff meat down your throat.

Hmmm. I don't remember saying that, but I guess it was definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Carnival of the Vanities is up at Punny Money

And what a funny blog title that is, no?

Anyway, it's the 194th edition of the Carnival of the Vanities. I wonder if the blogosphere feels old when it sees that number!?

Blogger Nick has done a tremendous job of carefully reading and commenting on every single post submitted (29 in all.) I like it when a host gives you their commentary, not just a bunch of links. He kindly linked to my post about tara Hunt, the non-wallflower.

So check out the the 194th edition of the Carnival of the Vanities. You'll find plenty of food for thought.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This month's Silicon Veggie column

Is an actual restaurant review. I see whether dim sum and vegetarianism can mix at swanky Sino, located in Santana Row in San Jose, CA.

You can read the review here.

Worker Bees readers may be interested to know that my "dim sum doyenne" companion was Worker Bees reader and BlogHer editor Maria Niles.

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