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Hungry to share your thoughts? Deborah recommends a SnackByte

Deborah Schultz is always thinking a few steps ahead. Everyone who reads her post will get this, and the early adopters of web technology will be glad to have a name for what they have already been doing:

Introducing The SnackByte

A Snackbyte is lighter than a complete blog post, has more context than a link and is more thoughtful (and hopefully more informative) than my typical Twitter post. They are tasty morsels of thought that go down easy.

Many friends of mine are using things like Twitter and even Tumblr but I think both of these are too ‘immediate’ and ‘short’. Deborah’s idea of a short post that’s longer than a twitter tweet, and very focused, rings true to me. Thanks, Deb.

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Social Media as Conversation

This morning, Jeff Pulver does a great job at summarizing what many of us in Social Media have been seeing for the last few years (Jeff included) – that the biggest attraction on the net is the Other People and the ability to Have A Conversation with them.

The Jeff Pulver Blog – Notes, comments and observations

Back in the day, Content was king, but in the world of social media communications, “the conversation” has taken the throne. Sure, content still matters, as does context, but for those of you who are looking to where the next mega trend on the Internet will be, I am placing my bets on something I am referring to as: The Conversation.

Jeff also notes: “By embracing social media, a business can shift from being a monolithic
company name or a branded product and transform themselves to a person,
an individual who advocates and evangelizes.” Exactly. This is part of what I do with companies all the time. By helping people learn to blog, to join Social Networks, or to help develop strategic plans on how to join the conversation, we are enabling companies to have a face – the face of the actual people who work there.

One PR agency asked me how they could write better blog posts for their clients. I told them to teach the client to blog instead. It is rare that someone can post for a company better than an employee who cares about the company’s mission, is seeped in their culture and is passionate about the company’s direction. That was me, back when I worked for Microsoft, and that passion coming through goes a lot farther than any amount of free copies of Windows.

As I start to receive feedback about my Podcast, which isn’t a business venture but is purely a personal and creative effort (see this post about A Chat and A Song) it is the feedback, the conversation that keeps my effort going. In the same way, when a company starts a group on Facebook to hear what people have to say about their product, or to gather their fans together, they’re gaining from the conversation.

In a sense, none of this is new. The ClueTrain Manifesto reminded us that conversations are what markets were always about. We just needed to find a balance. The old era of blasting messages is coming to a slow, lingering end. It’s time to learn how to have conversations. If you want to know more, talk with me, or with one of my many friends in the Social Media arena. I have a whole network of them.

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Blogs Teaching Blogging

I haven’t had much time to update my own blog, but I have been collecting advice from others about how to effectively blog, for some training I’ll be doing for a client.

Much of my research is documented here so everyone can benefit from what I’ve found. Let me know which ones are the most helpful.

Finally, a shout out to Deborah Schultz, who has been incredibly generous with some of her own materials. Deborah, in addition to being a great friend, is a fantastic social media consultant you should hire (if I’m not available :-).

Business marketing social capital exchange social media Uncategorized

When does introducing simplicity or constraint in design improve experience

From iPhone to sites like Fotolog (where you can only post one picture a day), constraint of design drives the user experience, and can also create popularity. Adam at Fotolog (and Scott) described how the constraint (or simplicity) of Just One Foto keeps the editorial imperative high, and it keeps the community different from Flickr (where you can post a HUGE number of pictures at any time). Communities like VOX where prompting people with the “Question of the Day” gives people something to blog about, in case the community member feels frozen or writer’s block – this ‘constraint’ bounds the experience and gives a place for writers to start.
Simplicity – making things easier for people to get over pain of adoption. People get overwhelmed with too many choices.

Skype – hard but gives people way to make free phone calls so people use it.

Adam – fotolog – doesn’t deny the appeal of the long tail, but too much or too many will reduce usage.

Pip Coburn’s model about getting people over pain of adoption – by giving them value.

Whether you call it restrictions, constraints, or simplicity, there’s something that helps people get over that pain of adoption. Rules vs Guidelines.

John B. – Everyone thinks they want infinite choice but it turns out they really don’t adapt well. Less choice can drive more behavior/purchase/etc.

Hardware guys ship and they’re done – web guys can iterate –

Games guys do this constraint thing well – give rewards, test a huge amount, watch user behavior.

Is Facebook Simple? Yes and no. The applications can be overwhelming, but the social dashboard, keeping track of friends, and photos is easy and well done.

Business marketing social capital exchange social media

Social Media and Social Capital Exchange

John Borthwick has gathered a group of entrepreneurs, early investors, and some how, me, to talk about the above topics in NYC.

Great group of people. We’re seeing some demos of the apps now.
Tumblr is up. Interesting – I though they were just meta-aggregators – but it’s really an interesting way to ‘microblog’ in a different way than Twitter is a microblog – chunks of content that can include photos, videos, audio (coming soon), text, links etc. And it can aggregate a bunch of sources that you have with feeds like Flickr, your own blog, etc. I like it. Have to try this out.

Now up – Public Square – the power behind the “Boxes and Arrows” blog that generated the story I posted about yesterday about “what’s above the fold.” The site enables online community or group writing sites. Gives great things like reputation on the site, and in the back end communication between authors and editors. They’re also offering publishers simple tools for them to make money including taking ads, job boards, etc. They have over 1100 sites, with 25% publishing regularly. 150k page views a week.

Billy from Fichey next. Great way to quickly scan top site’s top pages (like top pages on Digg, then easily jump from an image of the page to exploring the site, and back. Love it. New morning way to scan the net.