February 29, 2008 by Colin
I had a chance to speak to a passel of Canadian government communicators about social media yesterday, and I promised them I would post a number of useful links to help them work around implementing social media in their workplaces.
So here goes:
- How the Social Web Came to Be, Part 1 and Part 2 and a linear time line in pdf
- Social Media Marketing vs. Social Marketing, via the Church of the Customer blog
- Network of Public Sector Communicators – a New Zealand blog written by a govt type
- 26 free tools to monitor buzz and online conversation. This is a must read, folks!
- Blog search tools: Google, Technorati, Blogpulse, IceRocket, Bloglines,
- E-government and Web 2.0, from Cisco.
- Introduction to Twitter (via KDPaine and Jeremiah)
- Big Brands and Facebook, a Forrester presentation
- the Three Types of Government Blogger, by me
- Four Tenets of the Community Manager, by Jeremiah, and even more detail and advice from Jake McKee
I’ve obviously missed a lot of resources, and I encourage my readers to mention more in the comments, so I can pass them along to the more disadvantaged.
February 29, 2008 by Colin
Wow. These guys must have really been doing hallucinogens.
“… The Shags shared stages, fans and a recording studio —Trod Nossel in Wallingford—with the likes of Bram Rigg Set, Uranus & the Five Moons, Fourth Ryke, The Wildweeds, The Bearies, The Lively Ones and the mysterious George’s Boys, all of whom left behind some righteously raw singles as well as a vault of previously unreleased material …
… Rob DeRosa remembers The Shags mania well. As a teenager, too young to vote or drink but not too young to rock, DeRosa used to follow bands like The Shags, Bram Rigg Set and The Wildweeds around. That is to say, he and his friends would be driven by their parents to places where these shaggy-haired bands were playing …” (New Haven Advocate)
February 28, 2008 by Colin
“… the most promising development at Abercrombie may be its international expansion, still in early stages. The company’s Canadian stores are hugely popular, generating three times the revenue and profits of the average U.S. counterparts …”(Barron’s)
[tags] A&F, Abercrombie [/tags]
February 28, 2008 by Colin
I think we’ve all noticed a rush to Facebook as a source for journalists, especially when someone under the age of 25 suffers an untimely death.
In Europe, sites like Bebo are providing similar information.
Which is why the British Press Complaints Commission is looking into how journos use social networks and content found online in their reporting. The essential question is: when can information and media posted online be repurposed by journalists (and others)?
More information can be found in an interview between BBC reporter Chris Vallance and the head of the PCC.
The indicators of Facebook addiction are easy to spot. The first article reporting the tragedy usually includes:
- a candid low-res photos of the victim, bylined “Facebook”
- quotes from several of the victim’s friend
- some mention of the victim’s aspirations
- a reference to a recent trip, party or getaway with friends
Subsequent updates often mention group and school affiliations, reference to rememberance sites on Facebook, and favourite bands. Oh – and speculation from “friends” about the role of substance abuse, inappropriate or ill-considered behaviour, or school group dynamics in the death.
In short, all the personal detail and reaction that reporters have always found hard to get – and mainly by doorstopping a grieving family minutes after they learned of the death.
February 25, 2008 by Colin
In-store television channels are not a new development, but I will grab an opportunity to riff on a tactic wherever possible. Kroger has just announced that they have built a television network (KTV) to serve the internal communications needs of their central division.
“… Each store has two servers with storage capacity and on-demand video, Kroger spokesman John Elliott said. Programs will include anything from quarterly financial messages from the company president to safety instructions for meat cutters …” (Rockford Register Star)
This may be some programming you could expect on similar channels:
- The 5 Second Rule and the Safe Handling of Meat
- Your 401(k) and Your Future: We’ll always have hours on the night shift
- Wax on, Wax off: Entry Level Jobs
- Channeling Bob Ross in Bathroom Decoration
- Creative Accounting in Determining Expiry Dates
- Our New CEO is Better Than Our Old One
- Cashier and Stockboy: A Story of Forbidden Love
- The Grocer’s Chiropractor: One Box Too Many
- How To Spot A Mystery Shopper
- My Barbie Oven is My CoPilot: a Food Sampler’s preparation guide
- Bleach and Ammonia: A Shortcut to the Cemetery
- How to Detail a Buick – your manager’s Buick
- That Market Analyst Is A LIAR
- One Lick Too Many: One night shift employee’s mastery of Guitar Hero 3 – and resulting unemployment
[tags] in-store tv, internal communications, grocery [/tags]
February 25, 2008 by Colin
Come on. Give me a break.
“… a Grande Latte provides you with half the dairy you need for the day …”
That was part of the copy in a full page got milk? ad in this weekend’s New York Times magazine.
Sure. Half the dairy you need, at triple the price.
February 24, 2008 by Colin
A collection of Twitter messages you will never see in your friends’ feeds. Some business oriented, some rude, some techie, and some attempting to underline the deep rifts that are developing in how we communicate with each other.
- Just posted half-ass del.icio.us link post at tinyurl…
- This message is confidential. If it was not meant for you, please delete it
- Sitting alone in airport lounge, wondering what my kids look like
- Blue Horse Shoe Loves Anacot Steel
- I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts
- I don’t think we’re going to clear that brid….
- Miss Smith: please take a tweet
- If you need a friend, get a dog.
- le francais suit*
- I bill each tweet in 10 minute increments
- Twitter: the document management solution
- Am I as cool as I think I am?
- Tweet – for when you don’t care enough to cross the unconference to speak to someone
- Twitter is like IRC, but with icons
- I think I’m going to show her my “O” face. Did I just tweet that?
- Tora Tora Tora
*that one’s for the Canadian civil servants
[tags] Twitter, tweet, business messages, office communications [/tags]
February 23, 2008 by Colin
“… it’s a bit like making sausages. You don’t want to see them made, but they sure taste good …”
I love charcuterie. Of all shapes and sizes. Of all flavours, from savoury to hot. Fatty to dry.
Problem is, really good charcuterie demands careful preparation, respect for the process, and skill honed over time. And paying trough the nose.
“… His meats earn above their weight class, too. Eve’s $16 charcuterie plate, which features 12 to 15 of [Dan] Fisher’s sausages and terrines, brings in $32,000 a month, Fisher says. Nowadays it seems like charcuterie is on every menu in town whether or not it’s made in-house …” (Washington City Paper)
Still, you have to admire an industry where a specialist like Salumi Artisan Cured Meats can plainly state that some products – even commonly available ones like pancetta – aren’t available. And others won’t be ready until the spring.
[tags] charcuterie, smoked meats [/tags]
February 22, 2008 by Colin
You open up a freshly-purchased magazine, and dozens of subscription cards fall out. They clog up every third page, stick to feature layouts, and make you slip on the floor.
It’s a giant waste of paper. And Outside magazine recognizes that its readers, in particular, may not appreciate the mess:
“… Beginning with the March issue, the magazine is cutting roughly 20 million annual sub cards in an effort to save trees and be more sustainable, a palpable concern among its rootsy readers …” (Folio)
Outside seems to think growth from online subscription renewals will eventually replace treeware renewals.
But magazine publishers continue to insist that subscription cards are an essential part of their marketing strategy. After all, what better marketing is there than overpricing single issue sales and then undermining that strategy with a campaign of large scale and drastic pricing cuts based on volume sales?
I think U.S. automakers can answer that question.
Nevertheless, Wired magazine tells us in a blog post that
“…they’re part of our business model. It’s not just about money, really — it’s about your eyeballs. See, advertisers pay based on audience size. And blow-in cards are a cheap way to snag subscribers and boost numbers: It costs a glossy monthly about $10 to acquire a new reader through one of those cards. But using direct mail? $25 — or more…”
As Rex pointed out, Wired delivered this ecologically unfriendly and largely unwanted news in a lighthearted design – in the print version of the magazine, their note about blow-in cards was printed in the design of a … blow-in card.
Unfortunately, the “Death to Blow-Ins” Facebook cause only has 29 members, so this marketing gimmick may have years of longevity left.
[tags] magazine subscription, blow-in cards [/tags]
February 22, 2008 by Colin
Barack Obama’s big banners for “Change” rely on an apt font: Gotham. The folks over at Helvetica noticed this, and pulled out an interview they conducted with Gotham’s designers:
“…Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones spoke about the creation of Gotham during our interview for Helvetica, and looking back at their description of what GQ wanted from the font, it sounds surprisingly Obama-esque. “GQ had a dual agenda of wanting something that would look very fresh, yet very established, to have a credible voice to it,” says Hoefler. It also needed to look very masculine and “of-the-moment.” Mission accomplished. (Helvetica: A font we can believe in)
h/t to Jeremiah
February 21, 2008 by Colin
Forget beta testers in Russia, India and Iowa. Forget launching a 0.6.3 version with only 10,000 users. Here’s an excerpt from a 1981 market research report on the first version of the arcade classic Centipede:
“… Although test results from these locations should still be valid, the CENTIPEDE games tested at the Mountain View Time Zone, the Cloverleaf Bowl, the Albany Bowl and the Ice Cream Dock are not identical to the production version of CENTIPEDE …” (Atari documents, pg. 26)
What names! You can imagine each of those locations, down to the placement of the snack bar and the stoners hanging out in the back. Here’s some more insight from Atari Marketing Management:
“CLOVERLEAF BOWL: This location does not seem to have a large base of highly skilled players. The clientele is similar to a typical street location in terms of the level of game play. The average age of players seems to be 9 to 16, with a fairly high ratio of female players.
For the first 2-1/2 weeks CENTIPEDE was placed near the bowling lanes. The game was then moved near the front entrance of the bowling center and seemed to pick up slightly in earnings …” (pg. 29)
In case you’re wondering, the game made between $210 and $260 a week.
“… ICE CREAM DOCK: During the fourth week [of the beta test] the ASTEROIDS CT game was robbed, which resulted in an artificially high percentage of gross figures for the other three games…” (pg. 31)
Here’s some statistics on the Mountain View Time Zone:
“… There are a total of approximately 87 games … with a mix of about 75% video and arcade pieces, and 25% flipper games. Berzerk, Gorf, Pac-man and Rally-X are the newest videos in the location…”(pg. 37)
This from the “lessons always repeated, never learned file”:
“…The most frequently mentioned negative attribute of CENTIPEDE was the trak ball… [34% did not like it]” (pg. 39)
And, finally, an observation from focus group tests:
“…The older group discussed cabinet styles [between the "upright" and the "cocktail"]. A strong preference was stated for the standard upright cabinets over the shorter versions because it gives them a feeling of control and allows “body english.”
You just KNOW that their “body english” was accented by tight jeans, headbands and maybe even mullets.
h/t to Banner Blog
[tags] video games, 80s, Centipede, bowling [/tags]
February 19, 2008 by Colin
Corporate communications specialists would recognize a lot in the tactics and strategies of old line Communist apparatchiks.
Fidel Castro, Ken Lay, Bernard Ebbers, Roger Smith, Yuri Andropov – who doesn’t remember the stonewalling, the suspicion and the sense of entitlement that seeped through their public words and actions?
When threatened, they would respond with indignation and counter-accusations.
Pity poor Fidel. He’s finally gotten so sick he can’t manipulate the tendrils of power and propaganda anymore. Even he (or his nurse) has recognized that the glorious facade has faded, and people were doubtful he would ever reappear in public.
Another Communist lion fades into the brush.
That leaves the Chinese, the Vietnamese and the North Koreans. And a gaggle of former Soviets.
Not a whole lot of effervescent personalities in that bunch.
What has happened to all the old Communist apparatchiks? Gray suits, gray hair, a posse of similarly gray doppelgangers, all piling out of four door sedans to appear at a Worker’s Rally or May Day parade.
A real cottage industry had developed around interpreting the symbolism of their spoken and written word: what did that headline in Pravda really mean? If the Second Assistant Prime Minister delivered a speech live on prime time television, did that mean his career was on the upswing?
These kremlinologists were our guides through the thicket of jargon, gestures and grimaces in search of political, economic and social insight.
I seem to remember watching former Soviet leader Yuri Andropov looking sickly and weak at a May Day parade – the resulting speculation about his tenure as leader was confirmed when he died within a year.
What’s the modern equivalent? A financial analyst? In many ways, their professional value is built from the implied ability to read the movements and twitches of the market.
There’s been discussion this week of a gentleman who’s built a habit of inflitrating quarterly earnings conference calls, simply to ask semi-literate questions about Six Sigma and process re-engineering.
Financial analysts are genuinely puzzled by his behaviour: it isn’t overly disruptive, and doesn’t appear to be prompted by malice.
If we lived in a more suspicious time – and if his interventions were more inventive – we might suspect this mystery caller of disinformation or economic espionage.
Instead, we’re simply wondering out loud why anyone would want to play in the dry world of financial communications.
Still, it’s notable that some analysts are disturbed that someone is toying with their conventions, processes and playground.
Difference is, this guy won’t get grabbed off the street, bundled in the trunk of a four door sedan, and get buried under the Louisiana Superdome.
[tags] kremlinologist, financial analyst, corporate communications [/tags]
February 18, 2008 by Colin
Hmmm. Walter Carl, of Northeastern University, seems to zero in on Twitter as a marketing tool for hacks and flacks keen on keeping up images.
“… “You want to use these tools to keep up on others, in a good way, of course, and to let them keep up on you,” said Professor [Walter] Carl, whose research focuses on social media. “But their perception is it’s surveillance.” One of the main reasons people embrace social media — Facebook, for instance — is to create identities for themselves and control other people’s perceptions of them.
“Maybe Twitter isn’t the right tool for that job,” he said. “The people who I see using it are an older demographic, people in marketing or P.R. or advertising, who use it for work, to present themselves as particular types of people. They’ll twitter, ‘I’m traveling,’ or ‘I’m going to interesting restaurants.’ They’re using it to do identity work.” (NYT)
You know what? He’s 70% right.
[tags] twitter, identity, self promotion [/tags]
February 17, 2008 by Colin
The Washington Post appears to have a strong online presence to complement its historic reputation as a news organization.
So why is the online news room across the river in Virginia? Washington City Paper takes a lengthy look at the conflict between the new kids and the kids with all badges.
Whose arts coverage gets precedence online? What about breaking coverage and on-the-scene photography? Can a newspaper reconcile a desire for consumer-generated recipes online with a strict “tested-in-house” policy in the paper?
What about online comments? Can racist and derogatory comments affect the reputation of a newspaper – even if they are from readers (leave alone the acknowledgment that they are WP readers)?
The WCP’s piece examines all these issues – dissecting them from both points of view – online and the newsroom.
“… Newsroom staffers frame the clash as a question of tastes and standards. As in, those people have none, and we do. The cry from the other side of the river is that the newsroom doesn’t get the Web. So long as the two organizations remain separate, those aspersions will continue crisscrossing the river, carrying more than just a nugget of truth with them.
It’s hard, after all, to expect washingtonpost.com to soak up the journalistic culture of the Washington Post. Newspapers don’t codify their standards and ethical sensibilities in a companywide memo. The process is far too sprawling and random: An editor kills a story over inadequate sourcing, a reporter makes a Jayson Blair joke on the elevator, a discussion breaks out in the cafeteria—can Woodward really reconstruct all those high-level conversations? Dot-com operatives, hunkered down in Virginia, miss out on all of it…”
[tags] Washington Post, online newsrooms, web editor [/tags]
February 16, 2008 by Colin
Will Smith’s Top 10 Red Carpet Poses – and they’re all him pointing. (Celebslam)
The renegade art of (unauthorized) rock biography (The Phoenix)
Burlington’s The Radiator – a low power station in Vermont. Which is funny, because radiators are loud, often distracting and frequently unreliable (Seven Days Vermont)
It’s 1985, and we’ve got a white breakdancing crew in unitards from Ottawa, old-school newsticker chyron, and CJOH’s Max Keeping. Oh, and when’s the last time you saw a clip from Flashdance in a news broadcast?
[tags] community radio, break dancing, Will Smith [/tags]