Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Onward and Upward

Well, this is going to be my last post for a short while.

As many of you know, a new baby is due to come into my life any day now. This marks a turning point for me in many ways. A new life is beginning, and I'm about to enter a new phase of my own life. This has made me think a lot about what I'm doing and where I'm heading, but more about that later.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to upgrade my blog. I'm finding that Blogger has outlived its usefulness for me. I need a lot more flexibility and some more powerful features for what I want to do. When I return I'll still be blogging at jjprojects.net, so please stay tuned for developments. I'll be archiving this blog when I make the change.

I'll let you know when I'm about to kick things off again, it shouldn't be too long. I'll certainly be maintaining existing posts here in the meantime, if any of you would like to leave responses to existing posts. I will still read them and contribute.

During my blogging hiatus you will still find me twittering, facebooking, flickring, SLing...

Thanks for your patience and I'll be back bigger and better soon enough.

jj

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Respecting The Snacker

Do I respect the media snacker? Hmmm, that's a good question. It has been asked of me by Connie Reece, and was first posed by Jeremiah Owyang.

So what is a media snacker? Jeremiah has defined media snackers as "Folks who consume small bits of information, data or entertainment when, where, and how they want. If you want to be part of their lives you’ve got to respect them."

I'm certainly guilty of writing the odd long blog post or three. I could do more to make my posts shorter and to the point. I do think there is still a place for longer posts though, if they are well researched and well thought out. People are still prepared to read longer articles on particular subjects they are really interested in, if they have the time.

Having said that, I've become quite a media snacker myself. I'm a heavy user of both Twitter and Facebook, and I tend not to use my RSS reader as much as I used to. I tend to jump to blog posts, video, audio and images as people post them on Twitter and Facebook. I might leave a quick comment on their blog, flickr or Facebook wall when I do.

I'm a lot more prepared to listen to longer audio podcasts than other media, as it's easier to multitask while listening. I don't have a regular podcast (yet), but if or when I do, I think I'll try to keep my recordings on the short side if I can. Famous last words.

In the interests of extending the conversation, I'd be interested to know how this group of people respond to the question, if they feel so inclined:

Laurel Papworth, Steven Lewis, Joseph Jaffe, Bryan Person, Cheryl Lead, Cameron Reilly, Nick Hodge. Cathleen Ritt, Andrea Vascellari

Here is a cross-section of some of the other people who have responded to the question so far: Chris Brogan, Connie Bensen, Clay Newton, Lee Hopkins

If you'd like to respond to the question too, or to what I've said, please feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to see what you've got to say.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Twitter is faster than Google!

I want to say a few words about how I've discovered that asking Twitter can be faster than searching Google, if you want a question answered.

As my Twitter network has grown (currently 378 followers), I've come to rely on Twitter more and more. Nowadays, if I have a question about just about anything, and especially anything tech, I'll ask Twitter first. Then I might turn to Google to search, while Twitter is pondering the answer.

Usually I don't get far past bringing up the search window before I have several great answers from Twitter, and then a few minutes later there will be many more. Sometimes it even sparks a discussion on the topic. You just can't beat that. As I keep saying, Twitter is faster than Google.

Trust the twitter, the twitter knows all. The wisdom of crowds.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Got any good examples of this?

Monday, 22 October 2007

The Connections Show Conversation

The Connections ShowA few weeks ago I had a recorded Skype conversation with Stan Relihan, the host of The Connections Show on The Podcast Network. The episode has now gone live and can be found here.

The Connections Show examines how to use social networking tools to build a business network. Stan is an executive recruiter and I think I can safely say he is Australia's foremost Linkedin user. He asked me to explain Twitter and to discuss how I use Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the show blog, and If you think the conversation is interesting enough to share with others, please go ahead and digg the episode from the show blog.

I hope you enjoy listening to the show, I enjoyed the conversation with Stan. Like me, he is enthusiastic about social media.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Soon To Be Father

This is off topic but I just want to let you know about this guest blog post I wrote for Adam Purcell's blog wherestheinstructions.com. It's a blog about his experiences of being a new dad. He asked me to contribute a few thoughts on being an expectant father.

Not long to wait now! We're up to 38 weeks.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Post Sydney Tweetup 2.0

It's taken me a while to get around to uploading my photos from the Sydney tweetup (STUB) back on the 27 Sept; sorry, I've been pretty busy since then. Here they are at last, funny captions are encouraged. If you have any more photos you'd like to show, please leave a link to them in the comments. Check out this video shot at the event too. Nick Hodge was handling the camera.

It was really good to see that a few more women came along this time. We also had some people from out of town, as the tweetup purposely coincided with a couple of other tech events going on in Sydney that week. It was great to see a few people there who had only just started twittering.

A big thanks goes out to those who helped organise the evening, and to all those who came along. It was a fun night. Thanks to Greg Dwyer and Markus Hafner (aka eskimo_sparky) from Happener Recruitment, and to Nick Hodge from Microsoft for their continued support of the event. My thanks also goes out to co-organiser Ajay Ranipeta (aka funkycoda). He has a lot of enthusiasm for encouraging and organising these kinds of events.

Microsoft supplied the food and a couple of copies of Vista as prizes for the best tweets of the night. Happener supplied the delicious beverages 2.0, and Twitter (the company) supplied a few "wearing my twitter shirt" t-shirts to give away as well. Thanks to Jack Dorsey from Twitter for coming through with the goods there.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Will Virtual Worlds Become Bigger Than The Web?

I've decided I'm going to start writing a few more posts about Second Life and virtual worlds in general. I've been visiting SL on a regular basis and I'm finding that the more time I spend there, the more interesting it is becoming to me.

I've also been prompted to write by this revealing 4 part video interview with Second Life CEO Philip Rosedale. Rosedale expresses his thoughts about the current state of Second Life, their plans for future improvements, and where virtual worlds might be heading in the future. It's well worth a viewing if you are at all interested in the nature of virtual worlds and social media.

Rosedale has made the grand assertion that virtual worlds could potentially become bigger than the web is now, and that we could be at the beginning of something that has a long term impact on the world (and he's not just talking about Second Life, but other competing worlds as well). He does also state that he could be wrong.

Whatever the case, it's clear that the idea of virtual worlds has been around for a while, and doesn't seem to be going away. Second Life is the first world to reach some sort of critical mass in terms of popularity, visibility, usage and economy. It is currently about the size of San Francisco, has around 200,000 visitors a day, and has a million dollar a day economy. Is there a chance of this going backwards or coming to a halt for some reason, say if the real world U.S. economy fell into recession soon? Perhaps, only time will tell.

Rosedale makes the fundamental point that although we use the term 'cyberspace' today, the web as we know it is not really a space or a place. He maintains that to create popular 3D digital worlds with the physical presence of 'us', potentially has far greater reach than anything we have created so far on the web. He explains that the main lure of of virtual worlds is that there are other people there. You can just walk up to strangers and talk to them, more easily than you can in real life. This human interaction is empowering. Virtual worlds can bring people together in a very social way.

I'm finding that the most interesting interactive experiences emerging at the moment are ones with a shared social experience, where the core engagement or interaction is with other people. Answer me this question: when was the last time you wanted to spend more than a hour at a time interacting at a single site in 'cyberspace'? Was it a site that involved interacting with other people, using new social media tools such as Facebook, flickr, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter or Second Life? Was it game played with other people over a network?

Will virtual worlds eventually become bigger than the web? Who knows, but I'm going to keep an open mind about their value and merit before being so quick as to write them off at this very early stage. I'm going to keep exploring and learning for the time being and see where it leads.

My avatar name is jjprojects infinity in Second Life. Please feel free to add me as a friend.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Sydney Twitter Meetup 2

Well, the second Sydney Tweetup is just around the corner. If you twitter and are in Sydney next Thursday night, come along and join us for drinks at The Aurora Hotel in Surry Hills. It should be a another fun night.

I'm happy to announce that there will be a couple of door prizes given away on the night. One will be provided by Microsoft, the other by Twitter (the company).

A very big thank you to our sponsors, Happener Recruitment, and Microsoft for their support.

Here are some details:

Date: Thursday, September 27, 2007
Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: The Aurora Hotel, cnr Kippax Street & Elizabeth Stree, Surry Hills

Please see twitter.com/stub for more info.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Australia's First Social Media Election

What's on your mind?


On Friday Google launched a 2007 Australian Federal Election page, and an Australia Votes YouTube channel. From the election page users can add election content to Google Maps and Google Earth, access YouTube videos and add various feeds using iGoogle Gadgets.

Inside the Australia Votes channel you are encouraged to "Get involved and have your say" by submitting video responses and leaving text comments. Voters are also being encouraged to ask questions about political issues, and presumably some answers will be offered.

Apart from the various political sites and content already launched, The Australian has reported that Ninemsn is going to launch an Australia Decides 07 site with live video feeds, opinion polls, blogs and a "taxi poll", which will feature a cab driver interviewing voters. Apparently the The Age and News.com.au are also planning similar sites with multimedia news and opinion feeds and blogs. I wonder if Australian politicians will also begin to make use of Twitter, as U.S. politicians Barack Obama and John Edwards have.

How much of an impact do you think online and user generated content in particular will have on the upcoming campaign? If you live in Europe or the U.S., how much of an impact do you think it has had in politics there so far?

Peter Garrett talks about the role of the web.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

APEC Sydney: A Social Media Perspective

I've had a few APEC related social media experiences this week, mostly via Twitter. Earlier in the week I mentioned on Twitter just how much security was beginning to emerge in the lead up to APEC.

My Twitter friend Connie Reece then let me know that one of her Twitter friends, newmediajim, was part of the press crew on-board Air Force One. He was on is way from Iraq to Sydney for APEC at that very moment. She encouraged me to follow his twitter, as he was going to be twittering the event when they landed in Sydney. I started to follow Newmediajim and he reciprocated when he began twittering from Sydney.

A short time later I mentioned on Twitter that when walking down the streets near where I work in the city, I felt like I was being watched, and that I wouldn't be surprised if there were snipers around. Almost immediately I was sent a flickr link via Twitter of snipers on a roof just around the corner from the agency. Other local Twitter friends also let me know that they had heard various reports of people seeing snipers in the area.

Finally, on Saturday morning I tweeted that there was a scheduled APEC protest in the Sydney CBD about to happen, because I saw a short report on the morning tv news. Yet another Twitter friend let me know that a News.com.au journalist was on the ground twittering the protest. I was able to follow what was going on, and I was also able to let newmediajim know about this apecsydney2007 Twitter feed. He said he was isolated from the protest and would like to know more of what was going on outside the security barriers.

Every day I'm becoming more and more impressed with the power of new social media, and especially of the immediacy and value of Twitter as a social media tool. As my network grows, I feel like the degrees of separation from almost any event or person are becoming fewer. It makes me wonder just who I might be able to contact or what I might be able to find out if I put a request out through my growing network. Perhaps I should do a little experiment soon...

Monday, 3 September 2007

Mobile Social Networking: It Has Begun

Although I haven't tried it myself (as the iPhone hasn't been released in Australia yet), I've noticed many positive comments in the blogosphere about the iPhone Facebook Application. For example, today Pronet Advertising stated:

"Not only does it offer a great user experience over a mobile device, it gives new meaning to the term social networking as you can actually use it to network while you are being social - as in out and about, not chained to your computer...Before I might as well have been typing in, sitting at my computer updating my Facebook status everytime I did an update, now with the touch of one button I can type in an update when I'm actually doing it."

I find all the positive commentary intriguing and exciting. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I think it's only a matter of time before we see a mobile based social network hit critical mass and really take-off. You don't need any official figures to know that there are a LOT of mobile phones sold every year, so the potential is staggering.

Together with the success of this iPhone application and the emergence of social networking services such as Twitter, it seems that we might just be seeing the very early stages of the widespread adoption of mobile social networking. If we look at the iPhone alone, there is no doubt that soon there will be millions of them in existence in many different countries, and many iPhone owners will also be members of social networking sites and services such as Facebook.

I don't want to jump the gun here, because predicting the future is always a dicey business. However, I do think it's clear that there is a real demand for mobile networking services and applications. Sure, it might take a while, and there may be setbacks along the way, but being a Twitter addict myself, I've become intensely aware of the value and power of mobile networking. I think it's here to stay, and can only grow stronger. What are your thoughts - agree or disagree?

Monday, 27 August 2007

Being Social Media Ready

As mentioned in my previous post, Facebook and other social media tools have been receiving some pretty bad (old) media attention lately, especially in relation to the loss of productivity of workers.

To a certain extent, I agree that this can be a issue with some people, but I think those people would find other ways to be unproductive if they weren't using Facebook. I'm sure they were just as unproductive before Facebook entered their lives.

The other day I came across this post by social media and networking expert (and PodCamp co-founder) Chris Brogan, which puts the issue of social media and productivity into perspective I think. Chris asserts that nowadays, if you "want to be considered for something, or if you want greatness to find you, or if you want to be part of all this great, amazing stuff going on", you need to be ready. Here are 5 ways in which Chris advises people to be ready:

  1. Make it easy for people to contact you.
  2. Make it easy for people to understand what value you bring
  3. Be there. It’s easier for people to include you.
  4. Be EVERYWHERE. Use social media tools.
  5. Have something to bring to the picnic.
I think this is great advice. It makes the claim that people are wasting their time using social media tools all the more ridiculous don't you think? Is it actually possible to really "be ready" these days without using social media tools on a regular basis? It really opens up a world of opportunities that would not exist without these tools.

I'm beginning to hear stories of people connecting through facebook for work and business purposes, as well as for play. Social media tools such as Facebook are becoming part of the way people make additional work connections. Connections are being made with people in regional offices, partner companies, with potential clients, with previous colleagues and even with potential recruits.

I myself have been able to take advantage of work opportunities secured through LinkedIn, and I've made numerous new work connections through Facebook and Twitter. I've even made contact with people working in US offices through a new work Ning network. I would not have made many of these new connections without the aid of social networking tools.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Time To Bash New Media, Again

Is it just me or has there been more than the usual amount of new social media bashing going on in old media lately?

Earlier this week Steven Lewis and Laurel Papworth wrote posts about the ridiculous SMH article, Facebook labelled a $5b waste of time. Steven asserted that this article brought into play his "favourite media ploy: the nonsense statistic"

Laurel maintained that "They HATE us. With a passion. Every article about blogs, wikis, Facebook, MySpace and social networks is one about stalkers, paedophiles, time-wasters at work, mis-information, and- God help us - poor grammar/spellingz?"

In addition, there has been more than the usual amount of Second Life bashing going on lately. This post outlines the string of articles that have appeared recently in publications such as Forbes, the LA Times and The Wall Street Journal.

The question is: why is this happening now? Could it be that old media is beginning to feel more than a little threatened by new social media, and that people feel compelled to criticise what they can't understand?

Could it also be that most brands entering SL (or rather those advising brands) are approaching the Second Life community in an inappropriate way. Surely it's a bit early to be declaring the brand experiments in virtual worlds to be a bust. I'm sure the brands that have experimented with social media have learned a lot from the experiences they have already had - others are being left behind by not participating.

Haven't we seen this kind of thing before? I seem to remember that the first time around there were some ups and downs, but in time things began to work out pretty well for a lot of people (and brands) who began working with (what was then) new media and stuck with it.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Are We Always One Tweet Of Separation From Apple?

I had an interesting brand experience today. It began when I phoned the shop where I'm buying a new 17" Apple MacBook Pro. I was disappointed to find out that the non-standard computer I had ordered two weeks ago had not yet been built as promised. Apparently it will take at least another week.

Naturally I was fairly disappointed with this turn of events, and vented a little on Twitter, as a lot of twitterers tend to do in these situations. It was then that I realised that out of my 260 odd Twitter followers, I wasn't aware of anyone who said that they worked at Apple. Considering that there are a few enthusiastic Microsoft Twitterers, this seemed fairly strange.

Somewhat provocatively, I decided to try and find someone, anyone from Apple via Twitter, to see if I could connect to them. I asked my existing Twitter friends if anyone knew someone from Apple on Twitter.

Within half an hour I received a notification that my twitter was being followed by a guy who then tweeted that he hoped he could help me. It turned out that he worked for Apple. A bad experience had eventually turned into a good one because someone from the company was prepared to engage with me. The mere fact that he was prepared to communicate with me in that way made me feel more positive towards the company.

He mentioned that many people from Apple are not actually allowed to "be Apple" on the internet; that is, they are not supposed to let a lot of people know they are Apple employees. Apple does of course monitor the web to see what people (and employees?) are saying about Apple, but it appears that they won't allow most employees to respond for various reasons.

What do you think about this? As far as social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Second Life etc) is concerned, do you think this is a good policy to have? In general, do you think that companies are missing the boat by not being fully engaged with social media, and with the millions of their customers using it?

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Are Interconnected Virtual Worlds The Future Of The Web?

A LOT seems to have been going on in the arena of virtual worlds lately. Amongst other events, Disney acquired Club Penguin (a virtual world for kids) for $350 million. Mattel has even launched a Barbie Girls virtual world. According to Techcruch, Barbie Girls hit 3 million users in just the first 60 days in operation.

Some other virtual world efforts include There, Entropia Universe, Cyworld, Zwinktopia, Stardoll, Haboo Hotel, Web Kinz, Gaia Online, Neopets. In addition, the newly released Multiverse platform allows people to actually create their own online 3D worlds.

All this activity begs the question: are we going to see an eventual migration to an interconnected network of different 3D virtual worlds on the web? Will we then be able to wander around a 3D virtual web, moving from world to world, perhaps with the same avatar and user profile? If this becomes the case, we would of course still be able to jump back to the 2D web at the click of a button.

A current Business Week article Just Ahead: The Web As A Virtual World addresses this concept. The article points out that Google, Linden Lab and IBM are all working on products based on the belief that this scenario is not just possible, it is on the way.

It does seem clear that it's not going to happen any time soon, but I can't help wondering what the web will be like in 10 years. Is that enough time for this idea to become a reality, and then for it to become mainstream? It does pay to think about what has happened during the last 10 years. This kind of change seems equivalent to the amount of change since the early days of the web.

Significantly, Linden Lab (makers of Second Life) plans to publish the software code for its servers. Developers will then be able to modify it to create their own worlds and build connections between them.

The previously mentioned Multiverse Network, which was founded by some early Netscape employees, has developed avatars that can move from one world to the next. However, people need to use the company's browser which surfs only worlds created using the Multiverse software. Multiverse gives away the tools so that users can build their worlds for free. The Business Week article maintains that more than 200 are in the works.

Within 18 months, the Web3D Consortium (a 3D web standards group) also hopes to launch an avatar that can jump between sites. The Web3D Consortium was formed to

"provide a forum for the creation of open standards for Web3D specifications, and to accelerate the worldwide demand for products based on these standards through the sponsorship of market and user education programs."
It seems clear that highly engaging and entertaining virtual worlds are going to become a big part of the future of the web. I for one have decided to spend more time in Second Life, as well as trying out other virtual worlds. Apart from having fun, I'd like to achieve a good understanding of the the Second LIfe community and how it operates while it's still reasonably early days. However the story plays out, it's certain that there is a lot more for virtual worlds on the near horizon.

What do you think? Are interoperable virtual worlds going to play a central role in the future of the web, or is this just more 3D virtual hype?

Monday, 6 August 2007

Using Twitter In A Crisis

I made an interesting discovery the other day, thanks to @tastybit. It seems that the LA Fire Department is now twittering.

Last week I heard Robert Scoble mention in a Facebook video that if an earthquake struck, he would now turn straight to Twitter to get the latest on the disaster (if his web or mobile infrastructure was up that is, or as soon as it was). Scoble also mentioned that when the (non-terrorist related) explosion happened in New York a couple of weeks ago, he heard about it first on Twitter, well before the mainstream media got hold of it. He was even able to indirectly alert people living in the neighbourhood before they knew about it.

It strikes me that Twitter is a natural source for up-to-the-minute crisis information such as this. It would be an effective way to get information out to quite a few people during an emergency situation - the LA Fire Department obviously thinks so too. There is no doubt that the word would spread very quickly. It may well be the case that people working in the mainstream media might be alerted to a crisis by their Twitter friends in the area.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

What Is Your Social Media Content Worth?

During the past couple of days I've been thinking a lot about what C.C. Chapman said in his passionate Managing the Gray podcast episode Is New Media Selling itself Short.

Amongst other thoughts, he suggests that many new media content producers may be selling themselves short. He thinks that if people are serious about monetising their work (and sure, many people don't want to at all, apart from adding value to their personal brand), it's time to start thinking bigger and more seriously about what it's worth.

If I'm understanding him correctly, he is suggesting that people should be careful that they don't get taken advantage of by some big companies with a LOT of money to spend. He suggests that people should think hard about what their work is worth and not just accept anything they are offered.

I think C.C. has a very good point here. I think that some companies know the real value of some of this content, especially content with sizeable and/or desirable niche audiences. I agree that there is a risk of people being taken advantage of just because it's new media. These are uncharted waters, but I'm sure some companies know they can get a pretty good deal for their marketing dollar at the moment.

I will say that C.C. is speaking from a different environment than we have in Australia. I'm sure the social media landscape is more developed in the U.S. Having said that, it is often a global audience, and coincidently, he does mention and Australian example. I noticed the same example myself. On Twitter, Cameron Reilly from thepodcastnetwork recently mentioned that a high end glossy magazine asked him to write a major article for them for free!

What are your thoughts? In general, do you think that people producing social media content such as blogs and podcasts should take anything they can get at this stage because they are lucky to get anything at all? Is a very small amount better than nothing, even it you think it's worth more? Is it time right to start thinking bigger?

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Post Sydney Tweetup Thoughts

The first Sydney Twitter Meetup was held last Wednesday at Pier 26 Bar. Thanks to Cathy Edwards from the Telstra Chief Technology Office for co-organising the Sydney event with me. She had organised a couple of tweetups in Melbourne previously, so it was good to have her encouragement to help this one happen.

It was a good turnout of about 30 people at Pier 26, and I think the Sydney twitterati had a good time. We also had a few people from out of town which was great. Jared Madden and Adam Purcell, who are organising the first PodCamp Australia attended, and Dave King from St Edmonds Lab in Melbourne came along as well. Thanks to those guys for making the effort.

From my point of view, it was really great to finally meet some of my local Twitter friends in the flesh. I also met some people who weren't yet my Twitter friends but are now. I had fun contacting people through Twitter and Facebook beforehand to encourage them to attend. It was all an interesting social media experiment, which seemed to work out pretty well.

If I had one negative comment to make, it would be that there weren't enough women there. As I've mentioned before, this seems to be a fairly common occurrence in interactive, especially on the development and creative sides, and in senior roles. Personally, I really would like to see that change. I wouldn't like to see that continue into this new area of social media either, should it develop into a growth industry in itself (which it already seems to be).

A big thanks to Happener for sponsoring the drinks on the night, and to Nick Hodge from Microsoft for supplying a copy of Windows Vista for the 'best tweet on the night' prize.

Thanks to Tim Buesing and Dave King from Netx and St Edmonds Lab at Netx for recording and podcasting a few interviews on the night. The interviews can be found on the St Edmonds Lab blog here.

Quite a few photos were also taken. In true social media style, a lot of them (including mine) can be found on flickr, here

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Is Facebook Going To Be Useful for Business?

Over the past few months the use of Facebook has exploded in Australia. I don't know about you but just about everybody in my current workplace seems to be using it now. Admittedly, it's an interactive agency so you'd expect people to be using different online social media tools on a regular basis. I'd be surprised and disappointed if people weren't. I think social media is going to become increasingly important to many campaigns in one form or another, so it will be essential for people to know how it operates.

The high uptake of Facebook here has now started to attract the attention of the traditional mass media. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald this weekend (Better than the real thing: virtual freindships thrive despite bans, Weekend Edition July 21-22) focused on reports that Facebook is being banned in some workplaces during work hours. The article also mentions that there has been an 850% rise in membership since the end of last year, going from 24,000 to 200,000 Australian users in less than 9 months.

The question is: how can Facebook be used effectively in interactive marketing and business communications. It seems to me that banner ads might be one of the least interesting and effective methods of marketing within networks such as Facebook. There are already many Facebook groups based around businesses, and people are also using Facebook to organise various social, business and networking events.

It strikes me that there might be some really great opportunities for brands to engage and converse with people in meaningful and unintrusive ways. Let me be clear, I'm NOT suggesting that brands go in and try to add as many 'friends' as possible, or use fake profiles and fake comments to try and gain positive results - they won't.

It remains to be seen how Facebook will evolve, but it's going to be an interesting ride. Have you seen any effective uses for Facebook recently, beyond turning people into zombies, vampires and virtual food fighting?

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

The First Sydney Tweetup Has A Location

Further to my previous post, the upcoming Sydney Twitter Meetup now has a time and place.

Place: Pier 26 Bar, Darling Harbour
Time: 6pm Wednesday 25th July
Sign up here for the event.

A big thanks goes out to our first sponsor for the evening Happener Recruitment

If you are going to be in Sydney on the 25th, we would love to see you there. It should be a fun and interesting night.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Is The iPhone A Game Changer?

So I've been thinking about the iPhone a little more since my first post about it, The Apple (2G) iPhone Hype.

It hasn't been released in Australia yet of course, and God (Steve Jobs) only knows when it will be, but from what I've been reading and hearing, iPhones seem to be selling like hotcakes in the U.S. What's more, the iPhone also seems to be living up to all the hype. Apart from a few activation problems, people seem to be loving their new iPhones.

I'm thinking that if I had an iPhone now, among other things I'd most probably be using PocketTweets for Twitter on my iPhone. I'd be visiting social networking sites like Facebook regularly, and I'd be downloading and listening to my favourite podcasts. I'm thinking that if I want to do things like this, many others do too.

I was listening to Mitch Joel's latest episode (#59) of his Six Pixels of Separation podcast the other day. He pointed out that from a marketing perspective, because iPhones are selling like hotcakes and because around one hundred million iPods have already been sold, this is going to be a game changer, and we need to be paying attention to it.

I think Mitch is absolutely correct. A lot of people are starting to listen to podcasts (including video) about everything under the sun. A lot of people are using social networking sites. A lot of people are beginning to use services like Twitter, which can be updated from mobile phones, web or IM...and now, a lot of people are starting to buy iPhones.

I'm sure I don't need to point out that large numbers of people will now be be able to do all these things and more with one device. In addition, I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before we see a mobile based social network really take off. Things are starting to get really interesting in the mobile space.

What do you think? Is this a game changer, or do you think it won't make much of an impact?

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

The Sydney Meetup Is On

CathyE and I have taken it upon ourselves to organise a Sydney Twitter Meetup. Cathy has already been involved in organising a couple of them in Melbourne. Those Melbourne people are on the ball!

I'm not sure how it will go, but my attitude is - let's just do it and see what happens! It should be a good chance for like minded people to get together face-to-face. Nobody really knows where this whole social media phenomenon is going, but it's clear that something really interesting is happening all over the place - Twittering, podcasting, PodCamps, meetups, social networking sites, blogging, virtual worlds. Let's just run with it and see where it leads, as long as it's fun! It's a whole new interactive world we are building, so let's get together and support each other.

If you will be in Sydney on the Wednesday 25 July and are interested in coming along , follow our twitters to get the details as they come to hand. Feel free to direct message me via Twitter or send me an email about the event as well.

http://twitter.com/jjprojects
http://twitter.com/CathyE

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Does The Dove Evolution Success Mean Agency Evolution As Well?



I just want to say a few words about the fact that the Dove Evolution viral video has won both the Cyber and Film Grand Prix awards in Cannes this year (that's the advertising awards, not the film festival awards). I know this was a few weeks ago now, but I was on an unconnected holiday when the news broke.

I think this marks a significant turning point for the industry, and not just because it's a viral video that has achieved acceptance and success at Cannes. After all, Droga5 won the Grand Prix in the Cyber category last year with their Still Free viral campaign, so two years in a row could be considered to be a trend.

Much of the discussion, even in new marketing circles, seems to have been centered around the fact that this is a breakthrough piece mostly because it is not a traditional 30 sec tv spot. True to form, author of Life After the 30 Second Spot Joseph Jaffe provocatively commented on his blog:

"Dove's Evolution wins both Cyber and Film Grand Prix. Consider this the first day of the new era of creativity. Ding Dong traditional creatives, you are well and truly dead."

However, what is just as significant (if not more so) is the concept itself, which is so markedly different from anything else out there in the beauty products category. When have you ever seen an ad in this category actually attempt to make women feel good about their own body image by acknowledging the constructed nature of images in popular media?

Now let me illustrate the clear impact of this success story within the industry by sharing an experience with you. I have been in a number of group situations in which this video has been shown to agency professionals as part of a general showcase of new work, and also informally in day-to-day agency situations.

The fact that this video has been shown and discussed is a good thing, but from the various comments and discussions it became clear that many of the men in the room just did not 'get it'. This includes many of the creatives who deal with pop cultural ideas on a daily basis. Many of the men just didn't understand why this campaign has been so popular with women, and just didn't think it was a great campaign, or didn't want to acknowledge that it was. Most of the women in the room had a very different view. It is telling that in this country at least, in many agencies (both traditional and digital) around 80%-90% of creatives are still men. It's hard to believe in this day and age I know, but there it is.

Although both the writer and art directors for the Evolution campaign were men (UPDATE: please see the comments for a correction to this), there was clearly a healthy new approach at play here, and a very successful one. It's great that the Cannes jury has been quick to acknowledge and reward this different approach. There is nothing that starts to change old school, boys' club agency thinking faster than the lure of big awards - sad but true.

Since the awards, a few questions have been asked about the quality of digital work in this country, as there was only one bronze award given out in the Cyber category this year. Many reasons have been cited for this turn of events, from the current digital skills shortage, to inadequate broadband infrastructure, to conservative clients still thinking interactive is just an 'add on' to more traditional work. While there may be truth to these assertions, could it be that old school attitudes and conceptual thinking are also playing a major role in the lack of recent success as well?

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

PodCamp Is Coming To Australia

...but which city will host the first PodCamp Australia?

Jared Madden and Adam Purcell have taken it upon themselves to bring the PodCamp concept to Australia. The first PodCamp was held in Boston only last year, so this is still a very new concept. Jared and Adam have launched a stake your interest website, so go ahead and cast your vote for your favoured host city. At the time of writing, Perth was well in the lead as the post popular place to host the event. I voted for Sydney.

On a side note, I've noticed on Twitter that people have been having a few problems with their confirmation emails ending up in spam folders. This happened to me as well, so when you register, watch out for that. The subject line is "Welcome to the podcamp notification service".

Please note, Podcamp is not just for podcasters, it's also for podcast listeners, bloggers, marketing professionals, and anyone interested or curious about New Media. See you there, it should be a lot of fun.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Are You Powncing?

Well, this is my inevitable post about the new social network Pownce. As many of you may know, I'm quite a big fan of Twitter. I've avoided using Jaiku for some reason, but I seem to have dived straight into Pownce.

I've only been using if since Sunday, and I like it so far. I'm not sure how much I'll use it yet (social media overload and all that), but as a social networking tool, it seems to be off to a flying start. It's very easy to build up Pownce friends – I woke up this morning with a bunch of new invites from interesting people (quite a few were from Twitter mind you).

On Pownce you can send files, messages, links and events. You are able to communicate through the site or via a desktop application. Unlike Twitter, at the moment there is no SMS fuctionality, but I dare say that might be added in time. There is already a Pownce Facebook application.

Apparently Pownce was conceived by Leah Culver, Daniel Burka, Kevin Rose (founder of digg) and Shawn Allen, in that order according to the site.

Like Gmail and Joost before it, Pownce is cunningly working on an invite-only system at the moment, which has created a bit of mystery and an I don't want to be left out mentality amongst social media junkies. People want what they can't have.

Oh, and If you are looking for an invite, sorry, I don't have any left. When you are invited to join, you get 6 invites to give others. I asked my Twitter friends if anyone had one to give me and was inundated with invites. In turn, I gave mine away on a first–come–first–served basis on Twitter.

It's not surprising that invitations are currently spreading like wildfire though online social media channels - everyone seems to be talking about it and asking for invites.

Are you using Pownce already? If you are, what do you think of it so far. How does it compare to Twitter or Jaiku for you? If you want an invite and are not sure how to get one, I suggest you leave comments on a few blogs and ask around. Do a search and follow the trial, invites are not that difficult to come by.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

iPhone And Surface Multi-Smudge Technology

Here are a couple of healthy spoofs about the Apple iPhone and Microsoft Surface, with their much hpyed multi-touch technology.


I like a joke as much as the next person, but really, I'm keen to give both products a try. On the face of it, they both seem to offer some great possibilities for the future.

On a side note, it's good to see that the first iPhone sold (bought by Johnny Vulkan and Spike Lee) is currently being auctioned for charity.

via Diablogue

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Value Of Unconnected Holidays

If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed that I haven't posted here for a couple of weeks. I've been taking an unconnected break in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. I spent my time visiting family in Wanaka and Queenstown. These alpine resort towns are in the Southern Lakes region of the South Island, and are surrounded by mountains. It's a beautiful place to be at any time of year, and especially when the mountains are capped with snow.
Although these places are by no means devoid of digital technology (far from it in fact), I decided to make it a fairly unconnected holiday this time. I didn't take a computer or an iPod, and I had my mobile device turned off most of the time. The only digital device I used constantly was a digital camera (I'll post some more photos of the trip on my flickr photostream when I get a chance).

I did get withdrawal symptoms for the first couple of days, not being hyper-connected through instant messenger, email and online social networks. I wasn't even able to be tempted by my favourite new media podcasts. After a couple of days I started to relax into the holiday and it became a very refreshing experience. It was actually a very social time, with a lot of family members and friends of family gathering for a surprise birthday event, but it was all face-to-face communication for a change.
The day we were due to fly out of Queenstown, it started snowing heavily. The airport closed just before our flight and the roads connecting the town to the outside world were also closed. It was then that I began to need my mobile phone and web connection again, to be able to reorganise travel plans, but even then I only visited an internet cafe once. It was a three day wait before the airport opened again.
Being snowed-in was an unexpected surprise, but ultimately it was a fun time and I'm glad I had a break from being hyper-connected. I came to the conclusion that it's important to do that from time to time, as it's a great way of recharging the batteries, avoiding digital and social network burnout, and it makes you appreciate it all the more when you come back online.
I'd highly recommend the experience, but now that I'm back, normal communications will resume. Have you taken a non-digital holiday recently - without the crackberry, computer, or whatever your digital addiction is? How did you find it?

Monday, 11 June 2007

The Apple (2G) iPhone Hype


The hype surrounding the Apple iPhone is now in full swing, but apart from the new ads and the information on the Apple site, not many details are currently available. It seems that very few people have actually used one. I'd certainly like to try one out, if only to see what the multi-touch screen and soft keyboard are like. They way the technology is presented in the ads, it all seems easy and seamless, as you would expect in an Apple ad. I must say that I love the idea of having mobile web, iPod and phone is one beautifully designed package. It seems like it's been a long time coming.

I do have some reservations about this first release. According to the tech specs, it's basically a GSM phone with Wi-Fi capability for wireless data. In the U.S. it will support Cingular’s EDGE network. I can understand the business reasons behind this decision but can't help but be disappointed that the first release will not be 3G. I could be wrong about that here in Australia, it'll be interesting to see what the network arrangements are in Australia when the iPhone is eventually released here. This is not going to be until next year I believe. It seems clear that it won't be running on a 3G network, unless Apple releases a different version here.

Considering the capacity of current iPods, it's also a little disappointing that the storage capacity is going to be 4GB and 8GB. Having said that, it's easy to forget that this is still great compared to most other mobile phones on the market – and it is a iPod.

In the interests of full disclosure, I need to say that I currently own a Nokia 7710. Telstra gave this to me in return for testing out a mobile tv service just before they launched their 3G network. I've also worked with Nokia (on some 3G marketing demos) in their FutureLab in Sydney, so I'm pretty attached to Nokia phones, even though their compatibility with Macs has always been a issue.

The crux of the matter for me is that I like Apple products, I've been buying them for years (and years), and I like Nokia phones. I'd love to be able to say I have no reservations about jumping in and buying an iPhone as soon as they are released, but at the moment I'm not so sure. I'd love to have a 3G iphone that syncs seamlessly with my Mac, but it looks like I might have to wait quite some time for that situation.

What are your thoughts on the iPhone?

Friday, 8 June 2007

Tracking Your Online Conversations

coCommentThanks to C.C Chapman I've discovered coComment. I've only just started using it, but so far it seems really useful for keeping track of online conversations on blogs and in other social media.

Being able to centralise online conversations definitely saves time. It also enhances the conversations because you don't lose track of any comments you've made, and it makes it possible to respond quickly to comments if you want to.

As soon as I saw this tool I thought, great, I need to use this, it will help me, and it is.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

The Most Valuable Podcasts

On Twitter today I mentioned that I'd say a few words about some of the great new media, new marketing podcasts I've been listening to lately. I think this is a good time for this post, as Fly-Over Marketing has been conducting a Most Valuable Podcast contest and it's down to the final two in the poll: Inside PR vs American Copywriter.

These are my current favourites (in no particular order). Do give them a listen if you haven't already. They are full of great insights and opinions, and they're all free to subscribe. Just do a search in the iTunes Store or on the web, they are not difficult to find.

  • Six Pixels of Separation
  • Across the Sound
  • Managing the Gray
  • For Immediate Release
  • Inside PR
  • New Comm Road
  • Pr Junction
Can you recommend any great podcasts that are not on my current list. Do you have a podcast you'd like to plug? Please go ahead, I'd be really interested to listen, and I'm sure others would as well.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

The New Facebook

Over the past few weeks I've found myself using my new Facebook account much more than I thought I would. With the new addition of Facebook Applications, it has become possible to twitter from within Facebook.

The new FB Twitter application is not perfect by any means. It could do with an 'older' button (like the main Twitter interface) to be able to look back on missed tweets from friends. It could also do with a character counter, as it's so easy to go over the 140 limit.

I do like being able to switch between the Twitter app, my FB profile, and friends' profiles without having to open a new window. To me, the combining of these two applications alone has instantly made Facebook seem like a much more powerful (and addictive) social networking tool.

Quite a few other applications have been added too, including Digg, Widgets, Video and Audio. No doubt there will be many others to follow. On my Facebook Wall today, Chris Brogan wrote "It looks like Facebook is trying to swallow up all the other apps". Perhaps this is indeed the case. Facebook is offering the opportunity for any company, internet service, or software maker to build services for its members. FB founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently stated that "We want to make Facebook into something of an operating system so you can run full applications,"

Have you been using any of the new FB applications? If you have, let me know what you think. Do you use Facebook at all? If you haven't tried it yet, perhaps now is the time to give it a go. It does seem to be exploding in popularity at the moment, so you're bound to find people you know. It claims 24 million registered users, and is reportedly adding new users at the rate of 150,000 a day.

You can find me on Facebook under John Johnston, Australia network.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Hilary Clinton Campaigning On YouTube 2


This is Hilary Clinton's first follow-up to her Pick my Campaign Song YouTube video. So far the YouTube experiment seems to be working out quite well for her. I'm sure other politicians are watching closely. It's still very early days for this kind of political campaigning.

As I've said before, I'm sure we'll start to see a lot more of this kind of campaigning as the election draws nearer, and not just on YouTube. I see that Barack Obama also has YouTube, MySpace and Facebook profiles. At present, Obama has nearly 79,000 Facebook supporters.

On a side note, I was also quite impressed that when the Vote Different viral took off, there was no overreaction or negative reaction from the Clinton camp (as far as I know). They let it run its course without intervention, and now they are doing something positive to try and engage with the YouTube community in their own way.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Google What's Hot List

Google has just launched a new service called Hot Trends. The feature displays what people are searching for in large numbers on any particular day.

This follows on the heels of Google Trends, which displays the popularity of search terms in relation to each other over time, and the relative interest in different locations.

As Problogger points out, Hot Trends "could be a useful tool for those writing blogs on current hot topics". At the time I looked, I was surprised to see that fellini film was the second hottest search.

via Googleblog

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Hilary Clinton Campaigning On YouTube


Hilary Clinton has enlisted the help of the YouTube community to help choose her campaign song. The video directs people to hilaryclinton.com to cast a vote for 1 of 9 songs.

Not surprisingly, it seems that politicians are starting to embrace online social media more and more in order to engage with voters. I'm sure we'll see a lot more of this kind of thing in the coming months. It was not long ago that I noticed Barack Obama and John Edwards twittering.

via Diablogue

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Breaking Up Is Easy To Do


This is a refreshing (and somewhat surprising) approach from Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, which focuses on the relationship between the traditional advertiser and the consumer. There's also a blog that goes with it, Bring the love back.

"We don't talk anymore. You do all the talking...It's not exactly a dialogue."

"You're saying you love me, but you're not behaving like you love me, it's not genuine."

"I've changed, and you haven't. We don't hang out in the same places anymore. You're not even listening are you?"

All great stuff and great to see a brand like Microsoft saying it at last.

What do you think of this ad? Like it?

via Logic + Emotion

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Flickrvision (Beta)

Flickrvision, another mesmerising application from David Troy.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Bruce Willis Connects On iChat

After writing about the possibility of people in the public eye using Twitter in the future to connect with their audiences, I found this interesting. A couple of day ago, apparently Bruce Willis wanted to prove that it was actually him posting on a message board under the name of Walter B. He offered to connect to a disbelieving fan using iChat.

It makes you wonder how many other celebrities are interacting with their fans and detractors anonymously on the web. I'm sure it's a lot more than you might think. It's really a good way for them to move around and engage with people about their latest work without being noticed.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Kodak Winds Of Change


This could well be a hoax because it seems way too good to be true. If it is, it's a good one. I came across this entertaining Kodak commercial the other day when Jason Calacanis posted some of the funniest videos submitted by his 1700 Twitter friends.

According to the spot's YouTube description, it was produced for internal use and released to the public because it was so popular with staff. I think it's significant because the video acknowledges some past failures, and as the description also says, it shows Kodak has a sense of humor. This is why it would be a shame if it turns out to be a hoax.

It's also great to see that it's way beyond the 30 second mark, coming in at well over 3 minutes. Judging by the comments people have left on YouTube, they don't seem to mind one bit.

What do you think of this video? If someone has info about it being a hoax or otherwise, please post a comment. Please let me down easily, now that I've got my hopes up.

Using Twitter For Marketing Part 4: Campaigns

Part 3: The Public Eye
Part 2: Events
Part 1: Intro

Okay, I'm going to wrap up this series with this post. I think I've said more than enough about Twitter for the time being. There's no doubt in my mind that services such as Twitter can be used successfully for marketing purposes in a number of different ways. There's also no doubt in my mind that Twitter can be highly addictive!

I think Twitter could be used in campaigns to add a new level of engagement. I'm not talking about just sending out one way tweets (many followers but no friends) trying to spruik products. I'm talking about integrating it with other content to form a closer connection between audience and brand. Such a campaign could involve working with Twitter and Second Life, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, a blog, a microsite, an event, long form content, an existing reality tv program, you name it.

This kind of approach is already beginning to be used, but not with Twitter yet (as far as I'm aware). Coca-Cola and new marketing company Crayon a have recently launched the Virtual Thirst promotion within Second Life. They are taking entries for a competition involving ideas for a virtual vending machine. Entries can be submitted via Second Life, Youtube, MySpace or email. I've noticed that Coca-Cola (no doubt on the advice of Crayon), have responded well to some initial criticism about the competition prize with a YouTube video from one of the Coca-Cola marketers, and in turn, a video response has been submitted back. My point here is that Twitter could just as easily be a part of the marketing mix in this kind of new marketing campaign, as it offers another avenue for engagement, and a new means of interaction and communication.

On another note, I've seen numerous mentions of brands on Twitter. Even as I write this I can see a Tweet from one of my Twitter friends that simply states "Crimes against humanity part 5: Sony Ericsson Phones" and the next tweet, "care to elaborate?". I've seen mentions of everything from iPods to pizza odered on the web. People seem to like talking about the products and services they use (and don't like to use), especially mobile phones and related services. It seems to me that there is an opportunity for certain brands to engage and respond in an unintrusive way by Twittering.

I'm not talking about having a brand presence that screams "we're here so love us", and I'm not suggesting that brands go chasing down potential followers in order to attract as much attention as possible. Some brands (and their agencies) seem to have taken this approach to both MySpace and Second Life and at best it can be annoying, at worst it can seriously backfire. What I'm talking about is having a presence, but listening, learning, responding and engaging with each community in an appropriate way.

If you have any other ideas for how twitter could be used for marketing, or would just like to comment on what has been said, please do leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you about Twitter.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Using Twitter For Marketing Part 3: The Public Eye

Continued from Part 2: Events

I think twitter could be used by people in the public eye to interact and engage with their audiences in meaningful ways.

To an extent, the use of Twitter by people in the public eye has already begun. As my Twitter friend Cheryl commented in Part 2, Henry Rollins has been twittering. It may seem strange to some that Henry Rollins is one of the first celebrities to experiment with Twitter, but it's not really that surprising considering he's a spoken word artist and singer/songwriter. His tweets seem to range from plugging tour dates to one liners such as "Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on", to linking to his Letter to Laura Bush video on YouTube.

I think Twitter and other services like it hold a number of possibilities for musicians, actors, directors, authors. comedians and other people in the arts and entertainment. For instance, they could Twitter during promotional and concert tours, or during the making of albums and films. This could of course be achieved without giving away too much personal information. It would be up to them how much they revealed about themselves and their lives.

Twittering would allow these people to connect directly with their fans on a daily basis. This already happens to a certain extent with websites and blogs published by celebrities, but this could be a much more immediate, intimate and direct engagement. Can you imagine how many followers some pop and film stars would get if they began to twitter from their mobile phones? Do you think people would be interested in following their favourite Idol contestants during the show? It would add a whole new level of engagement to a reality show such as this.

For the premiere of its new tv show Drive in the U.S., Fox recently offered a live Twitter by Greg Yaitanes, the show's director. I see that the director's commentary had close to 900 followers. While not huge in relation to the show's audience numbers, this is still significant given that it was an experimental first attempt and Twitter hasn't gone mainstream.

On the political front, I've also noticed that both Barack Obama and John Edwards are twittering. It's doubtful that Obama's tweets are from him personally, but rather from staff. I don't think there is anything wrong with this, but Edwards makes it clear by stating whether the tweet is "from staff" or from him. I think you have to give full disclosure in a medium like this, or you run the risk of people feeling cheated if they get the wrong impression.

I do think there is a good case for politicians using Twitter. Again, it's a good way for them to communicate directly with voters, and for their followers to ask them questions and keep up with the issues. When I 'added' both these politicians, I was impressed at the speed at which they befriended me. One of my American Twitter friends (can't remember who sorry) said they sent a direct message asking a question and received an immediate answer from the politician's staff. This level of attention and engagement should be commended.

In these days of increasing media fragmentation, I think politicians need to have all bases covered, and that includes honest and open social media engagement. This is going to become increasingly important if they want to reach those people who spend much more time online than they do consuming tv, print and radio. That's already a lot of people, and If you are reading this, you are most probably one of them.

4th and final part to follow...

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Working It With New Linkedin Answers

I've been meaning to write a few words about new Linkedin Answers (and Questions). I discovered this new feature of the Linkedin network a while ago and recently decided to try it out. I wasn't sure what to expect really, but I've found it to be excellent so far.

You are able to ask any question you like and direct it to only your contacts, or to a much wider netowrk. You can categorise your question so that it's only directed to people who are interested in the topic. The quality of the answers I've received has been excellent. There are some seriously intelligent, qualified and helpful people out there. You are able to rate the answers if you choose to do so, which helps the person who has answered your question.

It's also a great way to find people who are interested in similar subjects to you. After someone has answered a question you've submitted, if you like the answer, you do of course have the option of asking them if they would like to connect to you.

All in all, I think it's a fantastic addition to Linkedin, and it really has made me realise how powerful and useful Linkedin is as a professional networking tool.

I've also been quite surprised at the number of people who have contacted me out of the blue, either with possible work opportunities, or to ask if I might know someone who might fit the bill. If you don't already use linkedin, or if you have an account but don't keep it updated, I encourage you to start 'working it'. You never know what opportunities may emerge through the network.

Here's my Linkedin profile. If you'd like to connect to me via Linkedin, just send me a Linkedin invite. I'd be happy to check you out and connect if we seem to have professional interests in common (and you don't seem to be a stalker, or a potential stalker of my existing connections).

Some people don't like to connect to people they haven't met face to face yet, but I believe in gaining new connections through social media, it's a beautiful thing. Having said that, I tend not to connect to recruitment agents unless I know them, as I don't want them going through my contacts and 'cold calling' for business. I'm always happy for agents to ask me if I know someone who might be looking for a particular position though.

Do you use Linkedin? If you do, how much do you use it, and what do you think of it?

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Using Twitter For Marketing Part 2: Events

Continued from Part 1: Intro

I think Twitter offers some excellent opportunities for use during live events, during both short and long term fixtures. The longer the event, the more the Twitter conversation for the event could develop and evolve.

This idea of using Twitter for events is not a new one. At the South by Southwest conference earlier in the year, two 60 inch screens were placed in conference hallways, streaming tweets to the participants. Reportedly, many conference-goers started to keep tabs on each other, and helped each other keep up with the best things going on at the conference. Panelists and speakers also mentioned the service. This helped create the buzz that has now spread far and wide, all the way to Australia and New Zealand in fact.

It strikes me that this kind of process could be repeated at other events around the world. Twitter, and other services like it, could be used to engage a group of people in conversations at specific events. It could also be used by people who can't be at the event but want to get an impression of what's going on there. Incidently, I've noticed that MIX07 in Las Vegas has a Twitter profile with around 300 'friends' and 'followers'. It'll be interesting to get people's impressions from that event.

At twittered events, organisers could notify participants of particular features, promotions and important announcements. This could certainly apply for many different kinds of events, not just conferences. Being from sydney, I can imagine what it might have been like during the huge, multi-venue, multi-day phenomenon that is the Olympic Games. Will we see twittering at Beijing in 2008? It could also be fun and useful at events such as cricket and football matches, or at any other significant sporting events for that matter. A Twitter timeline, or animated Twitter map could also be displayed on screens at events, although that might just be asking for trouble at some sporting events.

Here in Oz, Australian Fashion week is in full swing at the moment. I've noticed that News.com.au (News Limited) has started twittering for this event. The Fashion and Style editor is the twitterer. The ozFashionWeek profile doesn't actually have much of a following at present, but it's not being significantly promoted as far as I can ascertain (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). It might have been a last minute inclusion. I did find one feed and a link on the site here, under the title Hot Goss.

At this early stage, I'd say they might want to give a bit of an explanation of what Twitter does, if they really want people to join-up and follow the action. It's unlikely that many people visiting that page would already know what it's all about. I think we have to remember that there has been a tipping point for Twitter amongst bloggers and some social networkers, but it hasn't gone mainstream quite yet, not by a long shot. That's being pretty critical though, at least someone at News has had to foresight to give it a go at this stage - huge points for that. It's the first experiment of its kind here as far as I know (again, please correct me if I'm wrong), and experimentation should be encouraged and commended as far as I'm concerned.

Twitter could also be used at large music festivals such as The Big Day Out and Good Vibrations, or at any other festival for that matter. The possibilities for using this kind of service in locations where reasonable numbers of people gather are numerous. I'm sure we'll start to see much more of it. If Twittter doesn't survive, no doubt there will be a service with similar features that does emerge, survive and thrive.

If anyone knows of any current or past examples of Twitter being used during an event, please leave a comment, I'd love to know about it.

Part 3 to follow..

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Using Twitter For Marketing Part 1: Intro

Intermittently, over the period of a few posts, I'm going to address the potential of using Twitter for social media marketing. I intend to pick up and extend some of the existing ideas I've found around the blogosphere, as well as (hopefully) bringing a few new ideas to the twitter table. Needless to say, it's still very early days for this kind of social media marketing, so I'm sure ideas will emerge on twitter as I blog and twitter during the time.

As you can tell, I'm one of the people who find the Twitter phenomenon intriguing, and I do see a lot of potential and value in it (and other services like it). I do realise that there are many people who don't share my enthusiasm. I do encourage you to leave comments in either case.

A quick Twitter recap (but more than 140 characters):

It has been said that Twitter reached a tipping point at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas this year, and that "the buzz has now seeped from the blogosphere to more traditional print media". Newsweek has indeed reported on it, and more recently the The New Your Times has run a story. Incidently, The New York Times has also started to twitter.

Not surprisingly, Twitter currently has a big following among bloggers and people actively engaged in social media. This is no doubt due to the immediacy of live, group communication, and the opportunities it allows for directing people to other content. It's clear that Twitter is growing in popularity, but it remains to be seen whether it reaches a tipping point as far as mainstream popularity is concerned.

Twitter allows a great opportunity for groups of people to share experiences in real time. Tweets are also archived in individual profiles, and individual tweets can be found using Google. As I see it, these features offer quite a few opportunities for social media marketing...

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Homer Simpson On Google Earth

Here's another item related to the Google privacy issue :)

Google Tracking Your Searches

I'm in two minds about new Google Web History which launched about a week ago. The new feature lets you store your entire Google web history online.

I have been using it, and I must say that it's a pretty useful service, in terms of being able to find something you've searched for and didn't bother to bookmark, only to discover you need it later.

In terms of the privacy issues involved, Google says they encrypt all the data and that you're the only one who can access it. You can also pause the service at any time and delete items. However, the obvious question is: do you trust Google enough to give it your complete personalised search activity? When combined with Google Bookmarks, Gmail and other services, this gives Google access to a great deal of your personal information and preferences.

The future advantages for advertising are clear. Apparently Google will eventually layer on a tagging capability to enable individuals to categorise and share searches (in a similar way to existing social bookmarking sites I imagine), and then it will be possible to begin Tagvertising.

People do tend to tell their search engines some things about themselves that they probably wouldn't tell anyone else, or at least they might tell their search engine first.

It could be argued that, unless you have something to hide, the new features are harmless, and you can always choose not to use Google (if it's possible to do that online these days) or any of its personalised services.

What do you think? Does it disturb you to see all your search activity stored and displayed by Google, and that Google knows so much about you? Do you trust Google to hold and use your information in a way that is only beneficial to you, or does it hand Google too much power? I'd love to know your thoughts.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Top 10 Reasons People Unsubscribe

According to a blog survey conducted by ProBlogger Darren Rowse, these are the top 10 reasons people unsubscribe from RSS Feeds:

  1. Too many posts (the post levels are too overwhelming)
  2. Infrequent Posting (or the blog is effectively dead)
  3. Partial Excerpts Feeds
  4. Blog Changes Focus (too much off topic posting)
  5. Too many posts that I see elsewhere (Redundant, Repeated or Recycled News)
  6. Uninteresting Content
  7. Irrelevant Content
  8. The Blogger’s Ego - Too much self promotion
  9. Low Quality Content
  10. Too many posts that are too long

Let's see, how am I doing so far? I don't usually post every day, but I do try to post regularly (time permitting). I try to keep posts relevant, but sometimes I do get sidetracked. Maybe I do tend to post too much from elsewhere, including this very post.

I hope my content is interesting to my intended audience. I do try not to have an ego or too much self-promotion (but please don't forget to check out my video blog, flickr photos, Twiiter moblog and LinkedIn profile). I think I'm doing a fantastic job really. Oops, I'd better stop now before this post becomes too long, like the last one.

How are you doing with your, or your clients' blogs?

Saturday, 21 April 2007

More Twitter Speculation

There has been some recent speculation about the possibility of Twitter usernames being traded like domain names in the near future. I'm not aware of any that have been traded so far. Nic Cubrilovic raised the issue back at the end of March, and Steve Poland, author of Techquila Shots also picked up on it.

The issue has emerged because Twitter usernames are unique (what usernames aren't), so it could be argued that they could become quite valuable if the service is a runaway success. People may begin selling them to each other, especially some of the more desirable generic names.

Cubrilovic suggested that Twitter missed out on an opportunity by not reserving generic keywords ahead of time, to be auctioned as a way of providing a solid revenue model. He has suggested that it is now too late, as numerous services are being built and many speculative users have ’squatted’ (or is that squitted) on potentially valuable keywords.

It does seem to be the case that Twitter has the right to delete an account, or to take back generic keywords if it chooses to do so. No doubt this would be controversial, but still possible as usernames are not the same as domain names.

The question is, could keyword speculators go in and grab usernames in anticipation of the site becoming very popular, adding little value in the way of content and making the site less valuable that is otherwise would be? Clearly, many generic names have now been taken, with very little activity in most of the accounts.

However, other brand related usernames are already starting to be used. They don't have huge followings, but it's still early days:

twitter.com/bbcworldservice
twitter.com/cnnbrk
http://twitter.com/nytimes
http://twitter.com/technorati
http://twitter.com/CNETNews
http://twitter.com/woot

On a side note, some well known bloggers have developed substantial followings already:
http://twitter.com/Scobleizer
http://twitter.com/steverubel

It is interesting to note that YouTube and MySpace accounts have not (to my knowledge) been traded between users or sold by the companies, but here are just a few examples of YouTube profiles being used in a commercial manner. Although I'm comparing apples with pears, no doubt we will start to see similar things happening with Twitter in the future, if it stays around.

http://www.youtube.com/nbc
http://www.youtube.com/cbs
http://www.youtube.com/hammerandcoop
http://www.youtube.com/parishilton

What are your thoughts?