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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Community uses social media to prepare for Gustav

As the hurricane heads toward New Orleans and mandatory evacuation orders were made, there’s plenty of emergency news and help coming through on social media channels.

Craig Newmark posed a question as to how his site, Cragslist, might help, noting now users are taking over and  ‘repurposing’ the New Orleans portion of the Craigslist site.

“Is something happening now I’m missing?” he asked?

The site looks like it is shaping up to be a bulletin board and clearing house of helpful information. One person posted this offer for accommodation for the displaced, today, even adding a phone number:

“WANT TO HELP A FAMILY or persons needing a SAFE PLACE DURING GUSTAV. WILMINGTON, NC been through hurricane andrew – Have spare bedroom / bath king size bed. Pet ok too. call my toll free # 1-877-269-2784.”

Another offered shelter in New Hampsire.

On Twitter, there’s a feed called NOLANews those in the area can subscribe to., with lots of tips and links for truckers, and others fleeing the city. CNN’s Twitter posts also carry good breaking news

 
 

Quotes for the week ending 30 August, 2008

“Wiping away natural forests.”

Banner hung on a parking garage near Kimberly-Clark’s offices in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“At first, users were upset. They formed groups on Facebook to protest the feed. Then they became addicted to it.”

Eric Eldon, at Venture Beat, on the response to Facebook’s new design.

“People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example, than by the example of our power.”

President Bill Clinton, in his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

“To criticize China … is highly hypocritical. These Olympics were staged mostly for the benefit of the elite, massive corporations who wanted greater exposure and a greater market share inside this country of 1.5 billion people.”

“You may never know who got your postcard, and they may never know you, but you have the ability to influence a heart with your note, delivered right to someone’s mailbox!”

Message at web site ObamaEurope.org, run by a grassroots organization of Obama supporters in Europe who invite people outside the U.S. to write a message to Barack Obama. The site will then put stamps on the postcard and forward it to Obama –or his campaign.

Dan Bickley, sports reporter for the Arizona Republic

“You might be shaking your head at this point thinking this is all a little too much “kumbaya” for your liking, but trust me: unconferences will change the way you think about business.”

Mitch Joel, blogger, podcaster and columnist for the Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun, on how un-conferences helps grow a business, learn and connect.

“People want to see it, so we shoot it.”

Austin Raishrook, who with his brother Howard chase car chases and ambulances to get footage for RMG News, which they sell to TV stations.

“When it comes to viral video, you need to make sure 1) you create something people will spread and 2) that the video carries a payload — a message about your product. Fail on point 1 and your video won’t spread. Fail on point 2 and you’ll be a hit — but it won’t help your company.”

Forrester researcher Josh Bernoff, author of Groundswell, the book and the blog, on Will it Blend, the company he visited to create a viral video about social technologies.

“If Skype hadn’t been around when we started FIR, I very much doubt we would have started at all.”

Nevile Hobson, co-host of For Immediate Release, wishing Skype on its fifth birthday.

 
 

Media Circus follows Democratic Circus

Apart form lots of coverage of the Greco-Roman set at the Democratic convention, the timing of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech with Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech,” there was a media circus of sorts.

The Media Guardian‘s  magazine-styled podcast reports on the bloggers and the media that covered the event. Amazing how there was a ‘pecking order’ for the media. Businessweek had an oak paneled desk! Watch a Guardian video from Shehani Fernando (no relation).

Some interesting facts of media and corporate attention this event received:

  • There was a 4:1 ratio of media and delegates at the event.
  • ExxonMobil sponsored CNN’s coverage of the convention. It’s an equal opportunit sponsor, though. EM is also backing the Republican convention coverage.
  • New media was well represented. Bloggers, podcasters and vloggers were housed in the ‘Big Tent,’ a 9,000-square foot, two-story structure close to the Pepsi Center. This, however, was sponsored by Google and Digg.
 
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Posted by on August 29, 2008 in Social Media

 

What business is Google in? How about you?

Google is a search engine. No it’s an advertising company. No scratch that, it’s a monitoring service. A software company. A brand monitoring service, a publisher and library a….

Most organizations have been schooled on the practice of identifying what their core business is; (as the ‘law of focus‘ goes) of sticking to one thing and one thing alone. But Google has been successful by doing precisely the opposite. It’s the brand that violates all banding laws. Even how it has fun at the expense of its own logo!

It’s hard to pin down what the Google brand stands for, or is moving into. As CEO Eric Schmidt said in April, ” All options are open. I don’t want to rule out or rule in anything.”

Imagine if FedEX said that and decided it needs to be in the passenger transportation business too? After all it is not just a delivery company, with Kinkos, so it has expanded its core offering. I believe that companies, like communication professionals, are starting to rethink what focus means.

 
 

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Meatball Sundae revisited?

“Social technology smoke -don’t breathe it,” says the Will it blend guy Tom Dickson in a conversation with Josh Bernoff, author of Groundswell.

The two throw in a handful of ‘technologies’ including flash drives, toothpicks, video camera etc and blend them. The smoke and dust left behind become a perfect backdrop for Bernoff’s line about picking just one objective and choosing your technologies carefully.

Where did we come across this message –with a kitchen metaphor –before? It’s a more dramatic version of Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae, which essentially cautioned folks about the unappetizing results of badly mixing social media.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2008 in Social Media, YouTube

 

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Hillary does not approve attack ad. What a shocker!

For someone who savored the attack ad (think “It’s three am …“) don’t you think it is a bit disingenuous for Mrs. Clinton to start complaining that the McCain ad is trying to be divisive?

Negative campaigns may work, as many like Mark Penn her former strategist claimed. But they also leave an indelible mark on your reputation. Not that it matters for some of them.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2008 in Social Media

 

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Olympic video edit excusable?

We all make mistakes –editing mistakes, in the rush to tell a story.

So when the BBC made what they called a ‘chronological’ editing mistake of an event at the Olympics, they were quick to own up. Most viewers –unprovoked by the due-diligence that takes place in the blogosphere– will let it slide. But I find it ironic that criticism reigned down when the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games was found to have been digitally enhanced –an elegant euphemism for editing.

“Thankfully, it’s human beings that make TV and human beings that watch them,” said the Beeb spokesperson. He also called the humans “illogical, irrational and unfair.”

The Chinese could easily have said that.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2008 in Hype, Media

 

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Quotes for the week ending 23 August, 2008

“I don’t need to answer that. You guys know that answer. I am the best.”

Usain Bolt, on being asked who was the greatest sprinter in history, after winning his second gold at the Beijing Games.

“You Facebook / Twitter people are a bunch of losers. Who cares how many “friends” anyone has on Facebook”

Someone going by the name Fred, commenting on the Sports Illustrated story about Michael Phelps having one million Facebook “Friends.”

“The teeny bikinis that pass for uniforms tend to overshadow the nature and soul of the athletes inside. Without those uniforms, though, will would anyone be paying attention?”

Dan Bickley, on beach volleyball at the Beijing Games, filing one of his brilliant reports for The Arizona Republic.

“Wikis are troughing”

Tech Crunch, commenting on the Gartner chart that shows the peaks and troughs technologies go through in a hype-cycle.

“This is not a copy of a PC on TV.”

Intel’s Eric Kim, on the ‘Widget Channel’ that will allow TV users check more information on TV and share it with others from the TV set.

 

Obama’s counter-smear machine

Nothing beats a simple, well updated web site. And nothing beats a smear campaign than a counter-smear paint brush that fills in the details of a blurred picture created by smear artists.

The Obama campaign has found a great way of not just correcting the distortions about him, but to expose the names and history behind those who it claims are behind the smears.

Running off the main My.BarackOmama.com site, the Fight the Smears page is filled with the scurrilous emails, and sentences quoted out of context or distorted, with the correction or proof. No wonder he’s often called the Web 2.0 candidate, with a range of new media channels, including a well fed blog, Twittering and a text-message option for those who want to be the first to know his VP pick.

Web sites like AgainstObama.com (like AgainstHillary.com) crop up every few weeks, as do negative ads from McCain. But a YouTube video slam and a web site isn’t half as effective as the cumulative force of the web 2.0 counter smear machine –powered by facts.

 

Will crowdsourcing take off with Photosynth?

As an amateur photographer I have been watching this Microsoft ‘lab’ project, talking it up since last year in fact, as an example of where crowdsourcing and visual communication could be headed.

Glad to note that it’s now open to us, the hoi polloi. You will need two small plug-ins for the site to work, and adhere to a code of conduct that includes abiding by intellectual property and privacy laws.

I can see how global and local events could be seen and reported.

OlympicSynth: Imagine if Photsynth pulled all the tens of thousands of images from amateurs and Pro-Ams at the 2008 Beijing Games via Flickr and Picasa. We would get a whole new perspective and in-depth look at events such as the disqualification of an athlete for stepping over the line, the tie breaker at a gymnastics final, the Free Tibet protests, the opening ceremony etc.

ReuterSynth: Could news organizations such as local TV stations and newspapers, even global ones such as the AP and the BBC create their own synths and let communities contribute to stories? Not a stretch since some of them are taking contributions from citizen journalists.

Internal CommsSynth: Organizations could let employees feed their intranets through Photosynth widgets to participate in company events.

iPhoneSynth: The widget for an iPhone plugin is just begging to happen, considering how iPhone / iPod users are sharing pictures anyway. Camera phones and digital cameras are waiting to be knitted together.

SecuritySynths. The FBI and SIS could easily pull together real-time synths of cities and buildings, subway systems etc when something on the scale of the London bombings occurs. If you the detail of people and architectural features possible on Photosynth demos (it can capture anything from a logo on a T-shirt to a pack of cigarettes in a piazza) it makes the controversial Google Street View maps quite tame.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2008 in Media, Social Media, Technology

 

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