Tennessean Editor Says Newspapers Aren't Dying

I have been meaning to comment on this since the weekend...

In Sunday's paper, Tennessean editor Mark Silverman stated: "Fact is, newspapers aren't dying. Indeed, many newspapers are succeeding at keeping up with the changing needs of their audiences. Consider The Tennessean."

I'm withholding some of my thoughts on this for next week's episode of The New Mediology, but I'm curious if the editorial strikes anyone as a bit desperate sounding? The rationale seems shaky despite the "quantified" research he cites. I'll update this post when the podcast goes live and may elaborate a bit more.

One more thing...irony of ironies, I actually saw this article in a copy of the Sunday paper I purchased. I think it's the second or third Tennessean I've bought in five years.


Demographics of Facebook verses MySpace

I was listening to a recent episode of Marketing Over Coffee and they mentioned the results of a demographic study (Pathways to College Network is the reference, I think) of MySpace and Facebook. Here's what they said citing the study...

"MySpace tends to be more minority than caucasion, more female than male, and tends to be people from more lower income households. With Facebook the opposite is true. It's more caucasion than minority households, older, and wealthier."
Pretty interesting. I haven't heard either of the two social networks so distinctly segmented along these demographic lines. If this is true, it gives some perspective on which social network is more fitting for your next promotion depending on your target audience.


Target's Dumb Move Just Put A Bullseye on Them From Bloggers

I saw this morning that Target has responded to a recent request from a blogger about an advertisement complaint by saying: "Unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets."

The ad complaint aside, this response from Target was both interesting and surprising from an organization that seems to be on the forefront of cultural awareness and at least quite conscious of what people think about them. Anyone remember when they dropped "Christmas" for the more politically correct "holiday?"

The fact of the matter is that bloggers could be Target's best friends. Target does what it does well and could get extended mileage out of that by harnessing the power of bloggers. These ladies are a perfect example of that. They love Target.

What Target is likely thinking is that they don't have the personnel to respond to numerous blog posts and inquiries each day. I contend that Target can't afford not to engage bloggers. Target says they only respond to traditional media, but traditional media is increasingly following bloggers and becoming bloggers themselves. This entire story was picked up by The New York Times for crying out loud. Target talked to them of course...so it's a case in point. Bloggers can (and do) generate mainstream news.

I expect Target will take some heat from the blogosphere on this move. Kind of ironic they may find themselves in the cross hairs of bloggers given their logo. Target should do a couple things here:

1. Start a Blog ASAP - If Target starts a blog now they'll have the forum for a public response in the same medium as the criticism. Likewise they'll be prepared to address future blog requests on their own blog. This particular story would have been easily addressed on Target's blog if they had one and they wouldn't have had to concede if they disagreed with the ad complaint. The issue isn't about agreeing with critics, it's about engaging them at all. One blog and a part-time blogger could solve a lot of their problems and also make them better prepared to respond in the future. And that's just the reactive help a blog brings. There's a vast opportunity for Target to be proactive and positive with a blog, but that's a whole other blog post.

2. Be Open and Honest - Here's the thing about blogging, it's a great medium that facilitates conversation and understanding, but if you're not telling the whole truth, you're going to wish you never said anything at all. I don't think Target is trying to hide anything here, but this point is more about the tone and approach they should have when/if they start blogging. As long as they respond openly, honestly and candidly, people will see they don't have anything to hide and that they're willing to address concerns.

The rule of thumb is that when you're silent or avoid questions people will assume the worst. When you address an issue head-on and quickly you don't give it enough time to get a full surge of momentum. A well timed quick response can squelch an issue altogether. At the very least a quick response shows a willingness to address an issue publicly.

3. Ask for Help - If Target doesn't understand how to get a blog started or how to respond to blogs, they should find someone to help. From a technical side, any blogger they find will be useful to them regardless of what their own blog is about. Someone with news or public relations experience is a bonus. This is just another reason why public relations people have a better mindset for new media marketing. It's all converging both in medium and strategy.

[HT to Chris Abraham for this story]


Video of the Week: An army of three

Three guys, a video camera, some special effects, and the beach where Saving Private Ryan was filmed gives you this...

The making of "Bloody Omaha"


Southwest Airlines to Join the Mile Wi-Fi Club - Will They Reach Out to Bloggers?

I saw today on Engadget that Southwest Airlines has plans to launch in-flight Wi-Fi beginning this summer (official news release here.) The initial run on Wi-Fi-outfitted planes may be limited to four at first but they apparently plan to roll this out across the board in the future. They're aiming to provide the best in-flight Wi-Fi available according to Dave Ridley, Southwest's Senior Vice President of Marketing: "We intend to deliver the highest bandwidth available to commercial airlines in the United States." There has been no word as to whether the service will be free on the flights.

This is pretty exciting for those of us who travel with laptops, iPhones, or any other Wi-Fi enabled device. When Southwest is ready to launch this service I can't help but wonder if they'll reach out to bloggers to spread the word. It would make quite a statement if they filled the inaugural Wi-Fi flight with bloggers, all of whom would be live-blogging the flight. That would likely make news itself, not to mention all the blog posts from those on the flight and residual blog posts that would follow. This seems like a great opportunity for a company that has a reputation for doing things a little different from everybody else. Heck, they could even bring along their own bloggers.

One request if Southwest happens to see this...if you do the blogger flight, leave the middle seats open. Bloggers like their space. Bonus request: can I come?

Perhaps once this rolls out it will be a good reason for business travelers to fly rather than drive when they have the option. They could actually be productive on the flight rather than losing that time in the air. Why fly? Wi-Fi.

New Episode of The New Mediology: All About Apple

The latest episode of The New Mediology is now live. Listen to it online or subscribe in iTunes to give it a listen. If you listen, see if you can find this awkward exchange between Nathan and me...

Nathan: Lyrics is cool.
Bill: I'm not familiar with that.
[long pause]
Nathan: Song lyrics?
Bill: Oh, I thought that was a program.
When you listen you'll get the context of that...but it was funny (at least to us.)


Prediction: Recession Is Good For New Media Marketing

There's lots of news today about a possible recession. The Federal Reserve made the biggest rate cut in 24 years today to head a recession off at the pass but the stock market isn't really responding well so far. While a recession (or even the hint of one) will increase fears in many traditional sectors of media and marketing, I think new media marketers will benefit from this and here's why....

  • Blogs don't cost anything to start.
  • Online video is free. So is creating your own video channel on YouTube.
  • Creating a Facebook group doesn't cost anything.
  • Recording a podcast costs next to nothing.
  • A basic Flickr account to engage your customers is free.
  • Twitter doesn't charge to message the people most interested in what you are doing.
  • AdWords only cost you something when someone clicks your ad (and you determine the cost per click.)
There will still be marketing in a recessed economy. There will still be marketers spending money in a recessed economy, even if there's not as much of it. What marketers will be paying for, however, is not the use of the technology, the air time to broadcast it's message, or the placement for ads. What they'll pay for is help to use the new media well. When in the face of decreased marketing budgets new media will emerge as the cheaper option because companies will pay consultants (i.e. digital coaches) a few thousand dollars to teach them how to fish the new way. This may be the tipping point for new media marketing as marketers and advertisers give it a shot out of financial necessity rather than being convinced that it's the right thing to do. Whatever the case, a recession is going to be good news for new media marketing. It's bad news for traditional advertising and marketing, but Google was already telling us that.


Seth Godin Sums Up What I Do

I read Seth Godin's blog regularly but hadn't looked at it in a few days until I received an email from Jeff today who said I needed to see his post about digital coaches from yesterday. The point of Jeff's email to me was that Seth's post pretty much sums up what I do and the type of help I can provide.

I've found it's not always easy to explain what "new media marketing" is because there is some basis for understanding that is necessary to even know what the heck new media is...much less how to use it for marketing purposes. That being said, Seth hit the nail on the head by calling it (among other things as you'll see in the post) digital coaching. I think in my case it's more applicable to say I do digital marketing coaching...but you get the idea. I created a Squidoo lens to talk about it too. Take a look if you like. It's called, "Blogs, Podcasts, YouTube, oh my!"

UPDATE: Help take my Squidoo lens to the top of the Digital Coaching page...scroll down to the entry that says: http://www.squidoo.com/easydigitalmarketing (that's me) and vote once for it. Right now the top vote only has five votes so with just a few of you we can get to the top!


Kongregate Around Online Games 2.0

This weekend I discovered Kongregate.com. It's a free online game website that has some really fun stuff. My personal favorite was Filler, a fun (and addictive) puzzle game. Once you get the hang of it you'll be hooked for a while. I got to level 15 but couldn't get beyond that.

Kongregate looks like it's incorporated the web 2.0 mentality to games by letting users submit their own Flash based games and form communities around them. There are communities that have emerged around the games as well.

It would take quite a while to try all the games on this site...but it sure would be fun trying.


Video(s) of the week: A skier's boys and Tetris

I've been slim on posts this week so to make up for it you're getting a double dose of videos. This first one should inspire those of you experiencing the cold temperatures and snow this time of year...though what this skier endures is hardly inspiring. The announcer cracked me up on this one. The second video is dedicated to my wife...an avid Tetris player especially now that she found an iGoogle add-on for the game. Enjoy!

Skier Says Ouch!

Human Tetris


10 Things For My Mom Now That She Has A High Speed Internet Connection

It's official. Everyone in the country has high speed Internet access now. How do I know that? Because my mom is getting it (tomorrow to be exact) and I've always known she would be the last person in the country with broadband access. She's finally leaving the world of dial-up and as we were talking the other day I realized there's a lot of stuff she's going to want and/or need to do now that she's got a good connection.

Here's my list of ten things she's going to need to do. (By the way, mom, when you read this I'll walk you through it. This is just our list to get started.)

1. Download Firefox. Forget Internet Explorer as your web browser. Firefox is the way to go. It's so much more stable than Explorer, has great add-ons, uses tabs for multiple pages (though the new Explorer actually does this now), and doesn't make that clicking sound all the time.

2. Update your anti-virus software. If you already have an anti-virus program, make sure you're running the latest version and set the auto update feature to update automatically. If not, you can use a free version of AVG to give you basic coverage.

3. Set up a Google account. Google is more than a search engine. Much more (with more on this below) but you're going to want a Gmail account to get started even if you want to stick with your current email. Once you have that you'll be able to fully utilize the world of Google (again, more on this below.) I'll send you the Gmail invitation to get started.

4. Get a webcam. I have Logitech webcam but there are other good brands too. With free services like Skype, Tokbox, and ooVoo we'll find one that works for us to connect via live video so you can talk with the grandchildren.

5. Download iTunes. This will become your music and download destination. You can listen to online radio stations, create playlists from CDs you have, download podcasts (I recommend you get mine first of course), and purchase new music. When you get an iPod we'll talk more about this too.

6. Upgrade programs. It's likely that you're not running the latest version of Windows, so we'll check that out along with your Adobe Reader version too. Even though you won't use Explorer and Windows Media Player much we will make sure you're up to date there as well.

7. Discover Google Maps. You're going to love this...maybe. Be sure to look up your address first and check out the satellite view. Ok, now relax. It's okay. Pretty cool, huh? It's really helpful and once you've used it a few times you'll be hooked on it for all future direction needs.

8. Discover iGoogle. We'll be setting Google as your default homepage in Firefox and with that and your Google account you can customize your hompage to include several of the things here in this list plus news, weather, and many other things you might want to see right off the bat when you open your browser.

9. Discover Google Reader. I'll explain RSS feeds and all that stuff when we talk...but all you want to know is that there's a way for you to bring the content of blogs and many websites to you rather than going through your bookmarks to visit all of them. Google Reader can make that happen. Now you see why Google is more than a just a search engine (as noted in #3 above.)

10. Discover Wikipedia. Remember that Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia set you got us when we were kids. This is like that but bigger and easier to find stuff. You personally can add to it too. You may find that you can provide some insight on American literature for instance, and you contribute by signing in. I'll explain when we talk.

Any MicroExplosion readers have additional thoughts?


Video of the Week: The Wii Goes 3D (sort of)

Whether you were one of the lucky few who got a Wii for Christmas or not, you have undoubtedly heard about them. One smart guy has figured out how Nintendo can take its Wii technology and create an entirely mind blowing experience for future games. This is very cool.

Link for the feed readers here.


Web 2.0 beats traditional advertising methods...and Google Trends proves it!

I spent some time on Google Trends today as I was thinking about web 2.0 tools for marketing compared to traditional marketing methods. You may recall I consider traditional promotion strategies the big fish of marketing (and I advocate going after the far more numerous small and medium size fish.) In my first test I compared direct mail, tv ads, billboards, and radio advertising.

One note about Google Trends before we proceed...this is just showing the relative quantity of Google searches on the given search terms. It may be easy to dismiss this but as Steve Rubel said in this post, "search engines show us what's on everyone's mind," and it's therefore interesting to note the trends of the collective thinking.

Here's what the trends show over the last four years in these traditional marketing areas:

What you see here is that all but billboards are down from four years ago. Direct mail seemed to fall slowly and then hold fairly even in 2007. TV ads appear to have the most dramatic swings. Incidentally, notice the spike in TV ads early each year. Those are Super Bowl commercial searches for sure. Radio was down a little but steady for the last four years, though clearly below the other three areas.

After I looked at these four areas I included the term "web 2.0" to see if that mere term competed with these traditional mediums. Here's what I found:

Web 2.0 really didn't take off until late 2005. By early 2006 you see that it eclipses the four traditional terms and then clears them significantly through 2006 and 2007.

Just for fun I tried one more trend comparison by throwing "blogs" into the mix. I dropped radio ads from the comparison since it was at the bottom of the pile and here's what I found:

With "blogs" included it makes everything else just look silly. I was actually surprised it was such a huge difference. More surprising to me was that it was higher even back in 2004. We know that there were less than six million blogs at most in 2004 so it's a bit curious to me, but quite interesting.

So what can we derive from all of this? At the very least we know there are far more searches for "web 2.0" and "blogs" than than any of the traditional marketing methods. Even if all those searches weren't marketing related (and we know that's the case), the phrase web 2.0 is a business, marketing, and technology term. We can discern that the collective marketing and business interests are greatly interested in web 2.0 from these trends and if that's where they are, it's reasonable to look more seriously at them if you still have doubts.

One final one for kicks if you're interested. Who do you think wins in a match up of MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Google, and blogs? See it here.


One Thing Bloggers Will Love About Your Website

I hadn't been blogging for too many months when I realized most websites weren't built with the notion that there may be a way to help a blogger out. That realization birthed the "three ways to get bloggers to hate your website" post. Ever since then I have sought to make sure websites I am a part of are blog friendly. Early last year I co-created MySliceofPi.com and we dedicated an entire resource page to bloggers (and any other media who might be interested.) The intention of the page was to cater to the image needs bloggers might have if they chose to write a post about the site. Since then, I have recommended similar pages to clients and over the summer one client, Modern Parables, took me up on it. They created a blogger/media page with multiple options for their logo, images from the product, images from their original films, embeddable video links, and movie stills.

They went all out and it's been helpful to the numerous bloggers who have written about their resource. In fact, today they received a note specifically about the blogger/media page:

"I am SO impressed. I just went to your web site and downloaded and saved the images in less than a minute. That has to be the easiest time I've ever had finding and saving images. Woo hoo!!!!!"
Getting a page like this up on your organization's site isn't difficult. You just have to take a little time to do it. Bloggers (and other media) will love you for it. When's the last time your site got a woo hoo?

Episode 2 of The New Mediology Now Online

Check out the latest episode of The New Mediology. This week Nathan and I discussed our top 5 web applications and what we love about them. As always, we welcome feedback.


Will this be the year of mobile everything?

I've been chewing on something for quite a while and it's starting to come together a bit. I know mobile devices and mobile web access are a huge opportunity with steady growth for new media. The thing I haven't been able to really put a finger on was just how it's all going to converge. Today I got a bit more clarity...kind of like when you see one of those Magic Eye posters for the first time and it finally comes into focus. Paull Young's post (via a tweet from Lee Hopkins) helped it come into focus.


Questions or Comments for The New Mediology Podcast

Tomorrow night Nathan and I will be recording the next episode of The New Mediology podcast. If you haven't heard the first episode I would encourage you to listen now or subscribe in iTunes. If you have questions or comments that you would like us to consider including in the next episode leave a comment on either this blog, the podcast blog, or email me.


Video of the Week: Wheelbarrow skills

Ah, the school relay races. Seems like some people always took those a lot more seriously than others. These guys were definitely serious, but you gotta admit, it's a pretty sweet flip move. If there was a professional league of wheelbarrow racers they would be in.

Link for the feed readers:


Two Types of Blog Posts: The Meal and The Snack

If you have blogged for any time at all you have inevitable wondered about blogging frequency. You've probably asked questions like: Am I blogging enough? Am I blogging too much? How many blog posts should I write each week?

I've heard blogging referred to as "feeding the beast" and that once you start you must keep on feeding it. I agree generally with that idea and encourage bloggers to post a minimum of once a week. In my view that's the bare minimum to show that you're regularly active. This is not to say that if you post once every other week your blog is without value, but you can probably expect that people will learn your posting cycle and will check you blog about as frequently as you post. So don't be surprised if your traffic is sparse and you only post twice a month.

On the other end of the spectrum are blogs that post 20-30 times a day. The average person probably won't hit anywhere near that. Conventional wisdom (if there is such a thing for blogs) has said for the last few years that the more you post, the better off you are. That's true to a degree if you consider that every blog post is another hook in the water for people to find you through Google searches. It also shows that your blog is very active, which is a great thing for readers to realize.

The downside to these massive posting blogs, however, is that they create pressure on new bloggers to feel like they're failures if they don't blog often enough. Also, that type of blog can overwhelm readers because if they miss two days of posts they'll have 50 posts to sort through just to catch up. They'll skim the headlines at best in that situation or may bail on the blog altogether out of a sense that the time commitment required to read the blog is more than they're willing to give.

I look at blog posts in two ways: some are meals and some are snacks. A meal is a well thought out post that has some meat to it. It doesn't necessarily have to be long though it very well may. A meal is a post where someone comes away feeling like the time invested in reading the post was well worth it. A snack, on the other hand, is a quick thought, idea, funny video, link, etc. to provide ongoing value to the blog's readers yet without the time commitment as a meal. Whereas a meal blog post may take a minute or two (or more) to read, a snack may only take 10 seconds.

I personally try to make sure I serve up one meal a week and at least two snacks. Some bloggers seem to have their own working combination of the two. Seth Godin, for instance, serves several meals a week with a few snacks in between. Lifehacker, on the other hand, is virtually all snacks while bloggers like Mitch Joel and Jeremiah Owyang seem to serve up a meal with about every post. Each blogger needs to find the right meal to snack ratio for his blog but I've found that with this understanding of two types of blog posts, new bloggers especially feel empowered to begin blogging without any unnecessary pressure. For me it's a mental gauge for the type of posts I'm going to write over the course of an average week.