Thursday, 29 March 2007

Loss of Interest or Just Loss of Time?

CBC had a media analyst on the current this morning who has done some research that says people still LOVE their traditional media (print, radio, TV, magazines).

Peter made a great observation to me that many people have the tendency to believe that the decline in traditional media has to do with a loss of interest. What we got to talking about is the fact that maybe it's not about interest but has much more to do with loss of time.

Maybe technology is the media equivalent of having a child. It’s not that you don’t still enjoy and want to do the activities you did before birth, it’s just that you simply don’t have the hours in the day to fit it all in.

With so many choices and the ever-increasing numbers of media types and technologies that support them, what we want to do, and what we are able to accomplish are two completely different things.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

What's Your Search Style?

According to (July 06 numbers)

"most people use 2 word phrases in search engines"

My search style couldn't be more atypical I guess. I tend to write close to entire sentences into search engines. Sometimes, if it's a really obscure thing I am looking for, I try to imagine of how the creator of the content might have written it and throw that into the search engine to see if it helps. I guess it’s my own version of a deep web search.

As well, I am a huge linker. I have noticed from the mybloglog tracking to my site, that very few people actually link hop all that much. Maybe they will click one thing or another. I have confirmed this pattern with some other folks who track their blogs as well.

If I end up at your site on the other hand and find the content interesting, I will likely open up at least 10 new tab windows and follow the trail to wherever it might lead me (opening 10 new tabs at each new place = a lot of open windows). I find I more often than not end up in the most unusual places. As well the journey tends to give me a breadth of information from disparate places that help to formulate a different perspective about things over time.

So if you track who comes to your blog and you notice that the search term that the person came from was more like a sentence than a key word, and then you find that all of a sudden your page views skyrocketed 20% that day, probably means I have been for a visit.

And how about you? What's your search style?

Friday, 23 March 2007

Over 70% Of All Digital Content To Be User Generated By 2010

According to a new IDC study,

"...Nearly 70% of the digital universe will be generated by individuals by 2010, and that most of this content will be facilitated by an organization along the way..."

and furthermore:

"This ever-growing mass of information will put a strain on the IT infrastructure and organizations will need to employ ever-more sophisticated techniques to transport, store, monitor, secure and replicate the additional information that is being generated every day."

Analyzing The Analysts

I love Askthevc. It really is one of the best resources on the Web for entrepreneurs about VC (thus the name eh?). Today they had a young VC analyst ask a question, which encompassed what I consider two funny sentences.

1. "I'm good at technology without much development experience"
2. "I am strong on operational metrics without any operational experience"

So I thought I would add some more analysts to the list who I have met along the way (and even been at one time or another) in my work:

1. The Advertising Budget Analyst:

"I am successful at evaluating the appropriateness of advertising production budgets without any advertising production experience"

AKA - "I have a digital camera and friends who work in advertising"

2. The Advertising Creative Analyst:

"I know what makes great advertising creative even though I have never built a brand"

AKA - I watch a lot of TV

3. The Consumer Research Analyst

"I know what people want even though I have no practical experience in qualitative or quantitative research"

AKA - I am a person. I have friends who are people. How hard can it be to figure out what other people want that I don't know?

4. The Marketing Analyst:

"I know if you have positioned your product correctly even though I have never positioned a product in my life"

AKA - It will either sell me or not and let's face it, I am representative of the entire marketplace

5. The Management Consultant

“I can tell you how you need to reorganize your company for greater success even though I have never actually worked at a company or ever had to implement any of my grandiose plans”

AKA - If it works great. If it doesn’t they can bring me back to assess why it didn’t and pay me a whole bunch more money to try it a different way all over again

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Forget Twitter: Introducing “The Shitter”

This really takes the whole presence thing to a new level...Sent to me via Peter and Alfons, "The Shitter"

Copy from the site:

"Introducing a new Global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question. What are you pooing?

Answer on your phone,IM, or right here on the web. We call this Web Poo.0. RSS. Really Simple Shit.

Join now...It's fast and easy.

All the fun, none of the smell

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Does Technology Solve Real Problems Or Just Manufacture Need?

Professor Darin Barney will be speaking at U of T in a lecture called "One Nation Under Google: Citizenship in the Technological Republic". Dr. Barney has many interesting ideas and thoughts. Back in an interview in 2003, he had this quote:

"In reality, technologies tend to create more needs than they address, and to manufacture the very problems they stand ready to solve. I think of cell phones in this regard. Was the ability to engage in phone conversation while riding the bus really a pressing social need prior to the arrival of the cellular phone, or did our perception of that as a need arise after this technology became widely available? Was the fact that everybody wasn't always accessible, everywhere, via personal communication technology a problem before the mobile phone, or did the expectation of constant accessibility arise in light of increased use of mobile phones and e-mail?"

It's interesting because I most recently had this conversation about instant messenger. If I were pitching IM back in the day, what problem exactly did it solve? None I would suggest. What it did was present an opportunity and expanded the way we connect to each other. It fulfilled a 'human need' in a way that we couldn’t really conceive of it before it existed. And maybe to Dr. Barney's point, it went further and actually created that need in the first place.

Anyway, his lecture on technology and democracy should be thought provoking as well. Tickets are sold out but apparently if you show up chances are you will get in to hear it.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The Problem Of Building Your Digital House On Someone Else's Virtual Property Part Deux

From Jeff Jarvis:

"MySpace isn’t my space at all but Rupert’s Space and that that is its weakness. The Times reports today that MySpace is restricting users from using widgets they want on their own pages unless there’s a business deal in place."

Let's remember that Myspace might be free, but the owners of that site make A LOT of money off their users. No money. No wonder all the kids I know are moving on to Facebook.

For Part One that links to the poor younggogetter who had his Myspace deleted click HERE

To Be A Sheep Or Not To Be A Sheep

Scott sent me a good article from wired (actually that’s the third good article from Wired this week)

Netvibes talks about their choice not to force a google ad style model for their 10M users. Co-founder Tariq Krim

"We break all the rules," says Krim, his dark eyes smiling beneath abundant black curls. If advertisers -- attracted by Netvibes' 10 million users around the world -- want access to Netvibers, they need to create a service in the form of a Netvibes module. If the module -- such as eBay's auction-tracking module -- doesn't benefit the user, forget it. That's Krim's rule.

Two things that I find interesting: Firstly, the whole dark eyes and abundant curls part (Wired does Vanity Fair?) and secondly that a company so successful chooses to focus on building long term value for its users vs. short term monetary gain. Success stories like this go a long way to prove that following just makes you a sheep. Baaaaaaaaaaa.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Flickr Gets Yahoo-thanised

As of March 15th, Flickr users now have to get a Yahoo ID to sign-in. I wish these transitions weren't so bloody painful. The problems when Rogers became Rogers Yahoo was unbelievable from a users point of view and to some extent you have to wonder at the overall value to the companies that force these type of transitions. After all, with such stiff competition in the user generated content business, early passionate users to Flickr are likely going to be so annoyed that the cost/benefit doesn't seem to make sense.

It's the conflict of business goals and customer goals. The more things change the more they stay the same, even in the digital world.

Friday, 16 March 2007

The Soft Wall

The chief happiness officer once again shows the love with his post 12 ways to pimp your office. Introducing soft wall.

How cool is that? A paper wall that can be unfolded, totally molded and then refolded for an instant office.

Check it out for yourself at Molo design.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Passionate Users Aren't Created, They're Discovered

Brad Feld had a post back in August where he talked what he called the golden segment. The 19% of your user base that creates the tipping point for your success and in his words

“If you can figure out how to engage these folks, you win.”

Through out the process of our closed alpha test I exchanged ideas and got feedback both positive and negative from a range of people. Through those discussions, it was easy to see what types of people were going to use oponia and why and what types likely weren’t. But it wasn’t until we shut it down that I had the big epiphany. Without even knowing it, I had a sub-segment of people who were using the product all the time and actually missed it once it was gone!

I even got a request from one person to get 6 accounts activated because our product solved a short-term problem that her and a group of co-workers are having.

Needless to say, we are getting her the 6 accounts.

But here is my point. Passionate users aren’t created - they're discovered. It’s making that discovery and subsequently what you choose to do with it that might in the end make all of the difference.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Our 'Yes, No' Society

Peter told me a couple weeks ago that I said “Yes, No” a lot. And then I started to notice, that actually he says “Yes, No” a lot. I figure I got it from him. Well now both of us have been noticing that everyone says “Yes, No” a lot.

There is definitely a 'Yes, No' phenomenon going on. Maybe it's because nothing is solid anymore. Maybe it's because most things are possible. Nothing is black and white and as a society we view everything through a relative lens. It used to be that murder was just wrong no matter what. Now, we still think it's wrong but we also tend to think that it also depends on the circumstances.

Do you agree that there is a 'Yes, No' thing going on?

Do you think it's because we see the shades of gray more often than not?

Are you thinking the answer to that question is
yes, and no?

Podcasting Gives An Almost Orgasmic Feeling

A friend of mine who works in PR just sent me an email. His p.s. is now my quote of the day:

"Going into a client meeting and saying the word Podcast gives clients an almost orgasmic feeling right now. They hear the word and feel they are on marketing's leading edge. Imagine what would happen if you put them on Second Life..."

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Media Literacy Mandatory in Ontario Schools

I have no idea when this happened and I can't find anything that states a date online, but the cbc had a segment on it this morning. It's about time. I have always believed that you can't protect kids from advertising and media but rather you need to educate the hell out of them to help them discern for themselves when they are being marketed to. I had bumped into Debbie Gordon's website a number of years ago when I was looking for some materials for my daughter and it sounds like her business is now booming. She is an ex-packaged goods marketer who does media literacy training. She says that this type of training should be the fourth R and I completely agree with her.

Interestingly, she's even added something about the "news" to her sessions:

"In addition to kid culture and advertising, we've added a session to help kids sort through what's journalism, what's hype and what's hysteria."

When kids start to learn the differences between stated vs. implied claims in classrooms at the age of 7 (yes that's AGE not GRADE), you gotta know that our media world has somehow shifted.

In celebration of media literacy for kids, here are some key concepts taken from the website of the Association of Media Literacy

1. All media are constructions
2. Each person interprets messages differently
3. The media have commercial interests
4. The media contain ideological and value messages
5. Each medium has its own language, style, techniques, codes, conventions, and aesthetics
6. The media have commercial implications
7. The media have social and political implications
8. Form and content are closely related in the media

Monday, 12 March 2007

A New Theory On The Universe

"When science tries to resolve its conflicts by adding and subtracting dimensions to the universe like houses on a Monopoly board, we need to look at our dogmas and recognize that the cracks in the system are just the points that let the light shine more directly on the mystery of life."

I am always up for a little dogma looking and I think there are always interesting insights that you can apply to almost anything when you read head hurting thoughts about physics, biology and the human condition.

From the American Scholar by Robert Lanza, A New Theory On The Universe.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Bad Creative Critics

Walker had a great cartoon on his site. As a procrastination tactic to cleaning my house, I added my own.

Here is the original care of

And my own additions carefully created in powerpoint:

Friday, 9 March 2007

Microsoft To Build Web Version?

Apparently, Microsoft is building an online office suite.

Wow this seems like a horrifying thought to me. I can't even imagine it really. Having recently played around with folder share (which I was TOLD was sooo easy and found completely complicated), I can't even imagine how it would work.

It's really time Microsoft took a strategy of being a leader. Getting some big brains and innovative thinkers to challenge their models and not assume that Google has everything correct. As the stunted launch of Google's apps proved and growing success of companies like Ning that got a luke warm reception from the blogosphere, you never know what will succeed until you launch. The users in the end will decide. Amen to that.

ps. Microsoft, if you give us "show tags" functionally like Word Perfect used to have, I would be most appreciative

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Nokia A Media Company Of The Future?

You have to wonder what media companies think about not only Google but now Nokia getting into the advertising placement business. Nokia has announced a new service called Nokia Ad Service. In a nut shell they say they will control the ads on their devices and not some outside ad network. Can't find any links about it right now except this one, but Peter said he would forward me something later today. Very strange indeed!

update: here's the link to Nokia's press release

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

The Redosphere vs. The Blueosphere: Political Blogging In America

Robert Ackland did a study (in April '05) that looked at mapping the US Political blosophere with some interesting results. Ackland whose research upheld earlier works by Adamic and Glance concluded the following:

- conservative bloggers have more active linking behaviour than liberal
- conservative bloggers are more densely connected
- conservative bloggers are less likely to link outside of their own community

To help quantify the results, Akland used a scoring system based on linking structures to ‘authorities’ (high referenced pages on a particular topic) and ‘hubs’ (pages that point that a particular authority).

He concluded that conservative blogs occupy 9 out of 10 top positions in terms of authorities and hub scores. The end result?

“the tendency for conservative bloggers to link more intensively to one another is having a market impact on their relative online visibility.”

Is there a communication strategy behind the ‘redospheres’ approach? Or is it more a case of chance? Has anyone truly figured out how the edge might influence the centre yet?

By chance or design one thing is for sure. The impact of new media and in this case the ‘redosphere’ and the ‘bluesophere’ on purple America are only just beginning to be understood.

The Bruising of America

With the US political scene heating up, there have been a number of postings talking about the impact and potential importance of the blogosphere. While the media continues to polarize the "red" and "blue" America theme, according to Environics president Michael Henry Adams, it is

"neither Red nor Blue America that represents the overall trajectory of social change in the United States. Rather, it is politically disengaged Americans, people who increasingly embrace values of brash individualism and hedonism, who are the greatest barometer of where American society is headed."

How will purple America affect the upcoming landscape if at all? It would seem that whomever is able to get the most traction with the group in the middle would inevitably see the most gains.

Being able to control the media discourse will be one of the strongest ways to affect this group who will NOT be reading the comments in the blogosphere but rather be impacted by the latest sensational explosive sound byte from CNN. How will the edge conversations attempt to influence this?

More on this later today....

Monday, 5 March 2007

Gender & Technology Stats: Google vs. Top 50

Interesting to see the top 50 (which is actually 65 if you count the individuals which is how I did the math) people who matter on the Web. The gender gap is still more like a gaping hole. I decided to compare the Google executives (four of whom were on the list) to the top 50 - Google beats them hands down, but honestly, can we not do better than 14% vs. the guys?

The Strength of Weak Ties

Bumped into sociologist MS Grovnetter's theory developed in 1973 about weak ties:

"The strength of weak ties is the concept that individuals tend to be more successful in acquiring information about job opportunities by contacting individuals that they did not see often—their weak ties"

His theory in a nutshell: Our inner circle has similar info, similar interests and similar contacts as we do. When we attempting to do something outside of what's typical for us, it's our weak ties that support and inform us. We don’t know what we don’t know, but maybe our weak ties do.

Interestingly enough, I have personally seen this now that I have made the move from being a marketer (in digital media) to being an entrepreneur (in digital media). While what's inside the brackets might be the same, nothing else is. And it's been my weak ties that have made introductions for me and given insights and support to me along the way.

So my advice if you are thinking about changing careers or even considering doing something that might be radically different from what you currently know, cultivate your weak ties. It's their strength that might make the difference.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Weird MySpace Factoid

According to February's Harpers Index:

Minimum number of Texas death-row inmates who have MySpace pages: 36

Thursday, 1 March 2007

The Digital Search For Self

The old world says that our identity is about our passports. The new world via says something quite different:

"The Search for Identity.

We are in search of ourselves, and we find possible answers to our search for self through our interaction in community with others, through both our similarities and our distinctiveness. We are increasingly aware of the complex and multidimensional nature of identity in the modern world. We are much more than the roles and demographic slices that our companies, families and mass media would want to trap us in. We belong to many tribes simultaneously.

We are multi-dimensional beings engaged in the process of becoming."

The Web takes the notion of "finding yourself" to a whole new level. Don't miss reading the full article that was about open creative communities found here.

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