My Old Web 2.0 Notes of Randomness

Tonight I found a legal pad I haven't used since sometime in early 2006. This is the pad I used when I was first beginning to sort out a lot of the early web 2.0 stuff that I'd been reading about. One page in particular stuck out to me tonight because I'm a data dumper when I'm trying to sort things out. I think that's why I love white boards. I can just put all of my random thoughts on it and then stand back and look at it to see how to make sense of the mess. That may sound strange but that's the way I work. That's what this particular page was that I found tonight so here are some notes from Winter/Spring 2006 in all their random glory:

Mass media verses mini media

Internet marketing:

Not typical banner ads and email marketing strategy

  • OLD - You're an outsider on a page
  • NEW - You're recommended
Buzz marketing
Word of mouth

To be effective the product must be good.

It's gutsy, honest, and not always pretty - must be willing to hear bad news from people - the bright side is that it will make your product better if you actually listen to them


Pastor Kisses Facebook Goodbye

My brother sent me an interesting post written by Josh Harris. Josh is the pastor of Covenant Life Church and he has determined that he's going to drop Facebook after having spent a week on it. Josh cited the following reasons:

  • "I just don't have enough self-control not to check my page constantly."
  • "I found that it encouraged me to think about me even more than I already do--which is admittedly already quite a bit."
  • "I need to read more."
I can relate to Josh in many ways and applaud his candid explanation of why he quit using Facebook after just one week. I think it's a good reminder for self evaluation for those of us who spend so much of the day online.


Video of the Week: Now this is a marriage proposal!

Guys, let me just prepare you. The likelihood that you put anywhere near the effort like this for your wife when you asked her to marry you is pretty slim. Once you get over that you'll really like this. Ladies, you're going to love this very creative and elaborate proposal.

Link for the feed readers:


PR Firm Strikes Out Promoting to Bloggers

Earlier this week I discussed whether PR professionals are better new media marketers than traditional marketers. I still contend that PR pros have the better mindset for new media marketing. The variable, of course, is whether the PR pros have taken the time to understand the new media culture. I have seen one such case in the last few weeks where a PR firm didn't (and likely still doesn't) understand new media. Here's what happened...

On August 6, I received a "Blogger Alert" in my email from a "full-service media and public relations agency founded in 1994 to 'restore faith in media,' provide 'value-added P.R. that defines values' and give Christian messages relevance and meaning in mainstream media."

This "alert" was an HTML email sent with the following headline:

The email was to notify me of a new 30-day small group stewardship study by a well known church stewardship consulting firm and that this product now has a promo video on YouTube and GodTube. Nine days later I received another email from this same organization but this time it wasn't a blogger alert, rather a standard news release.

So...where to begin...ok, here's the beginning of my issues with these emails:
1. I don't know this PR firm. I have heard of them but have never talked to anyone from their organization.
2. I don't recall ever signing up for any news alerts from this organization. I don't see anywhere on their website where I could sign up for news alerts if I want them so I assume I never signed up for anything. Both emails I received from them had links to unsubscribe from their list, but how did I get on it to begin with?
3. What do they want from me? Both the alert and news release didn't say what they want me to do if in the off chance I am actually interested in what they are promoting.
4. Is this really newsworthy? So an organization created a new product and they posted a video on YouTube and GodTube? Is that it? Am I missing something else here?

I have to admit these emails really frustrated me because they're coming from a Christian PR firm that just seems lazy. I really hope it's simply a case of ignorance and that they will learn there are better ways to promote to bloggers. In an effort to follow up a little ranting with a little help, here are some things for new media marketers (PR folks or otherwise) to keep in mind when they want bloggers to promote something for them:

  • Remember that bloggers are individuals not organizations. If you want a blogger to promote something for you, you MUST build a relationship with him or her before you do anything else. It's the most important thing you can do.
  • Be direct. If you want something, don't beat around the bush. The blogger is already expecting you to ask for something, otherwise you wouldn't be emailing him or her. Bloggers are generally pretty nice folks. They may turn you down, but if you're direct and personal they will still probably respond (and not write a blog post about how you don't know what you're doing.)
  • Don't be a spammer. When you send an email blast to bloggers you're spamming them. Spam is unsolicited bulk email. From time to time I get personal emails from organizations and individuals to mention something on this blog. If it's a personal email I try to always respond. If it feels canned, fake, or otherwise less than authentic, I delete it. If it's a bulk email I delete it also...except in this case when it just seemed like it was time to talk about it on this blog.
  • Bloggers would rather make and break news than react to news. Give us a chance. Don't give bloggers the scraps. Was the fact that this client has a video on YouTube really newsworthy? If you already know it's not newsworthy in mainstream media then don't bother sending it to bloggers either.
  • Study the individual blogs you hope will work with you. If you have never read the blog that you want to use, don't email the blogger. Take some time to at least read the most recent four or five posts and look through their archives to see what makes the person tick. You will almost always find something that you can relate to what you're doing...otherwise why do you want that blogger in the first place?

Worship Service Software Poll

My friend Greg is taking a poll of worship service presentation software. If you have anything to do with the worship service at your church I'd encourage you to head over to the Squidoo poll and vote for the software your church uses. One thing to note on the poll...PowerPoint and Keynote are not included because they are not designed specifically for worship services, rather they exist for presentations in general. I think it would be interesting to know how many churches are using either of those instead of software created specifically for church worship services.


Is New Media for PR Pros or Marketers?

Yesterday I spent a few hours downtown at the first BarCamp Nashville. I met Michael, the blogger behind Marketing Monster (thanks to Chris for the introduction) and he and I were talking about how we both have our degrees in public relations but work in marketing. It got me thinking about how new media marketing is really much more geared toward those of us with a a PR background/training and here's why I think that:

New media marketing is largely unpredictable and uncontrollable. It works on its own time frame and cannot be forced or it's quickly recognized as contrived and fake. When new media marketing works, it does so with a grassroots growth or viral explosion that seems to come from nowhere. It's all the stuff that PR professionals live with and love about the business. It's the idea of dropping a few hooks in the water to catch some really big fish...though in new media the value of a "big fish" is not simply the weight of a single fish (like a story in the New York Times for instance) rather the cumulative weight of thousands of smaller fish like bloggers, online video creators, podcasters, social networking friends, and shared photo references.

Marketers, especially the most traditional ones, seem to have trouble with the new media because they don't think like PR people. They are accustomed to complete control over the message, image, creative development and brand. They don't have ears to listen because they operate with one way messages. This is doubly bad because it means they talk only when they have planned to and are not prepared when a response in necessary.

Here's what the disconnect seems to boil down to: the marketers are the ones focused on the emerging technology while the PR pros are not giving it the same attention. So while on the one hand you've got PR people with arguably the best mindset for new media marketing due to their inherent thinking, they don't seem to have the knowledge or interest (I'll have a personal example of that here on the blog in a few days.) Then on the other hand you see the marketers who have quickly seen the value of new media and salivate all over themselves for a big score but they don't naturally have the best mindset to really do it right and end up making themselves look worse. Chris discovered an example of this two weeks ago.

Maybe new media will show us the closest convergence of PR and marketing that we've known. Maybe some PR firms will realize they have an opportunity to compete with ad agencies and marketing firms now. Maybe in the future there won't even be PR firms, ad agencies, and marketing firms because they're all rolled into creative communications companies that do it all. Maybe corporate communications offices and marketing divisions will do the same. Maybe it's time for you to start moving this direction today.


Video of the Week: Serious ping pong skills

I grew up with a ping pong table in my house. I was all right at it...or so I thought. When I got to college I met some people who could really play. My skills were pitiful in comparison. Then I saw these guys this week. They take it to a new level.

Here's a link to another good one if you want some more ping pong action:

Link for the feed readers:


Does Your Digital Outreach Tell the Truth?

I recently submitted another article for Outreach Magazine's website. I took a little different angle this time from previous articles. Rather than discussing new technology specifically as I've done in previous articles I thought it was time to address the disparity between how some churches portray themselves online verses the actual experience when a person arrives at the church. Here's a little bit of the article:

It's tempting to create an image of what you want your church to be, rather than what it is. Though your intentions may be pure, you're not helping your prospects gain an accurate picture of your church. If you paint an inaccurate picture, then aren't you guilty of false advertising?

Web 2.0 tools can be used to communicate anything you want. And therein lies the opportunity for inadvertent false advertising. Though you may want to make some changes, don't show your community what you hope the church to be in a few years. Rather, show them all the great things about your church today. If your church needs to make changes, then make the changes within the appropriate avenues in the church, but don't convey those changes until they’re nearly complete.

You can read the full article here.


Video of the Week: Pachelbel's Bedtime in D

This is what happens when a dad with a webcam and guitar starts writing lyrics to Pachelbel's Canon in D. Quite funny with some things I can relate to!

Thanks to my brother for the tip on this video.

Link for the feed readers:


This is why I love social media...

I'm working on a project and had to do a little digging into Flickr. One thing led to another and I discovered this photo by photographer Kris Kros. I don't know what it is about this picture but it totally captivates me. There's a story to it on the Flickr page too. It was a great find.

Thanks to Kris for allowing me to post the image on this blog. There's more from Kris on his Flickr page.


UPDATE: Holly Hunter Interview - The Spin

I recently wrote about the really bad Holly Hunter interview from the ABCNews.com segment called What's the Buzz. I originally wrote about this interview and linked to the video as my video of the week but it turns out this story is becoming a case study for web 2.0 cluelessness (if that's even a word).

Now ABC News is playing this story up like the interviewer, Merry Miller, is an Internet celebrity like the Evolution of Dance guy when in reality this is more akin to the Star Wars kid (video here for the uninitiated) brand of celebrity. Steve Bryant over at Reel Pop nailed this whole thing on the head. He said, "Miller's celebrity isn't positive, no matter how much she or ABC tries to spin it. Her appearance was a series of simple mistakes, good for a laugh. But by conflating notoriety for celebrity, ABC reveals they're just as out-of-touch as Miller."

So what's the lesson here? If you're going to venture into these new waters try to get some people on board who know the culture. It's not enough to find people who can execute technically. There's an entire culture shift around the new media. ABC is on the right track going the You Be the Anchor angle and they could have played that up more. Unfortunately, ABC's lack of new media understanding shines brighter.


Video of the Week: Ouch! Skater takes big fall.

I've seen my fair share of bloopers and sports injury video clips but I've never quite seen a fall (or maybe free fall is a better term) like this. The good news is he walks away in the end.

Link for the feed readers:


Blog Maintenance: Checked your blogroll lately?

If you're a blogger you've probably got a blogroll. If you've been blogging for a while, chances are your blogroll has gotten pretty lengthy as you've traded links with various bloggers. I've been blogging for over a year and had 31 blogs I was linking to from my blog. It struck me tonight that it's been a while since a viewed a few of them so I decided to start going down the list and here's what I found:

  • Dead Blogs - Two of the blogs don't exist anymore. The guys shut them down for various reasons.
  • Dying Blogs - One of the blogs hadn't been updated since April. It's on life support at best.
  • Departed Blogs - One of the blogs had a new address and I was linking to an old blog.
Needless to say it wasn't speaking well for my blog upkeep to be linking to dead, dying, and departed blogs. The dead and dying blogs were removed and the departed blog now links to the appropriate address. A few of the existing blogs are close to hitting a month of zero blog posts so I'll check on them again over the next few weeks. I don't know when I'll officially put them into the "dying" category (and therefore remove them from my blogroll) but if six weeks have passed without a post I think it's fair to say the blog is dying.

So when is the last time you went through your own blogroll? Are you linking to any dead, dying or departed blogs?