Should Wearable Device Makers Look to Teen Market?

In this latest LinkedIn post, I meander about, thinking out loud about teens, drama, social, mobile and where all of those things might be headed. Forget the Internet of Things (IoT) – let’s talk Internet of Hormmones (IoH).

Be part of the solution, not part of the noise

In 2007, I wrote a post about finding ways to be a connector rather than a producer. The premise remains solid – social media works best when you engage with another human being to help them understand, accomplish, figure out, decide, decipher, determine, think, realize, achieve, or otherwise DO something they may not have figured out how to do without you. Not when you add to the noise by pontificating in SEO-optimized bursts. I know that we all know this. But it’s helpful to stop and ask yourself before posting online: Am I producing or solving?

As time to forgetfulness decreases …

…Time to remembering is on us.

Mobile blogging. I thought I was doing it ten years ago on my first edition sidekick phone, but looking back, that was anything but mobile blogging. That was when most of my thinking was done stationary. On the couch. At a desk. At a hotel. In the park. Sometimes in my agency cubical.

The intermittent moments were used to travel, navigate, and live life. Productive thought stopped in between those stationary destinations, where thinking was made concrete.

Then the evolution began.

15 years ago, telecommuting moms were the renegades. Even the breast pumping, work-attending moms hated us. But now they know we were on to something. We learned how to think and work within the white space. To create in the interim. To produce in motion.

12 years ago, bloggers put training wheels on and started living and relating and creating in the in-between. In between coffee breaks. In between commutes. In between relationships. In between sleep and wake.

We shaped this new hyperspace of ubiquitous thought. Some of us are still here. Too many friends are gone. For the here and the gone I am going to try. Try to fire up the ambient observations not just about social — that’s not what counts — but because of social.

Who knew WordPress had a blogging app anyway.

Visualizing Toward Empathy

We used to be more urgent than the Internet.

A dozen years ago, you would find many a netizen rushing home from work to get online so they could connect with friends, read the latest posts and comments, check their personal email for ezines, or jump on a discussion list. A few of us could sneak a peek at work, but not many. Corporate firewalls were sealed tight, and applications were sturdy and strict pieces of software, not fun three-letter words you can run on a phone.

That lacking begot urgency.

We were faster than the flow of information.

We rode data; data didn’t ride us.

Because the enterprise and the personprise were individuated — no BYOD, rare instances of telecommuting, and certainly no blogging from work — we had to expend a great deal of effort just to connect. We sought content; content didn’t seek us.

And here we are now, streams and feeds 24/7, an enmeshment of who we are wherever we are, with information following us. Worries of Big Brother replaced by Big Data – what do we do with all of the digital stuff assaulting us, and how do we keep up with our friends.

What is the ratio between interesting things that would be cool to know more about vs. how my friends are feeling–are they hurting? Getting married? Have a new job?  Should I have to go to three different social networks to find out? Times how many friends? And what is the likelihood I’ll give up before I find out, distracted instead with the guy who feel 24 miles from space.

We are fat with content now; we are lean with empathy.

But we can’t turn back. I’m not sure anyone would really want to. And I don’t have the answer yet. George Girton says I should try App.net – something you pay a little bit for so you don’t have to deal with ads and have control of your feed. Maybe. But gosh I don’t need another place to go, or barrage of information to dodge.

The great enablers of technology are the ones who solve problems like this.  When we had all of the information and no way to find it, Google came. Now that we have all of this information and no way to parse it, I don’t know what will come. But something will. Analytics are taking care of the dilemma for the enterprise.

But can analytics scale down? Can it draw meaning from micro-personal information as well as it handles big data?

Now that everything we need to know is out there, how do we visualize toward empathy? How do we make meaning?

losing a social media guru before social media had a name – goodbye Michael O’Connor Clarke

I’ve been thinking about you all day, Michael all day.

I even went to mass because I felt, well, if it could add in any tiny way to the comfort being sent to Leona from all parts of the globe, then I should do it.

Michael, I went for you too. You see, you would be one of the few who could get me in the doors. Can you see me? Standing outside, wondering, having never been to this church, hardly to any church in recent memory, would the side doors lead me awkwardly into the midst of communion lines? Then what would I do? Stick out my hand and say “Amen”? Michael sent me?

It took me a minute to make my way in. Would I remember the responses? Did you know some of them have CHANGED? Yes, for real. They don’t say “It is right to give Him thanks and praise” anymore – at least not at this church; they say something else, I think, “It is right and just”?

Today I didn’t feel like it was right or just. I felt like nothing made sense.

But in that not-making-sense-ness, I felt you poking my shoulder, poke poke, as I stood in the back. You  tried to get me to laugh. I couldn’t help it. I did smile.

I didn’t make it to the end, but I did stay through the part where all 200 of us prayed for those family and friends who had died. And so I prayed for you. And I stayed for the “peace be with you” part, and shook some people’s hands for you and Leona.

If only you would have stopped nudging me so I could have stopped giggling.

me and my blog brother:

remembering michael o’connor clarke

some of my favs from michael…

I hope that Michael’s  blogs are preserved - so many great ideas, so much he contributed.




3 things old-school Blogging can teach new-school Social Media

Back in 2003, my blog had a Google page rank of 9. I burst into the Technorati Top 1000 on a couple of occasions. Considering there were about 1000 of us blogging at that time, this accomplishment was not as “whoa!” as it sounds.

Before I started blogging in 2001, a Google search on my name delivered just 3 search results. Four years after, that number would climb to 300,000 and more. That was before businesses barged in, before smartphones and BYOD meant everyone really was “always on,” before becoming a ‘social media’ expert was a lucrative career option.

The act of blogging was quite different then. But the idea that there was value in talking to each other across the web has stood the test of time

There are things that early “social media” did right — practices that have been lost amid the growing cacophony of participants. The following are some old school blogging tactics that can be revamped to make conversations more meaningful today

THEN:
We had “blogrolls,” which we took great care to maintain, groom, and grow. These were sidebar lists of people we read, lists and links to friends, enemies, whoever we thought our friends should be reading. These were our pre-app apps for finding and sharing. We didn’t do SEO. We did I LOVE YOU.

NOW:
Blogrolls have fallen out of favor. Most of us find what we read by following links tweeted by our Twitter folowees, or Facebook links to what family and friends are reading. Blogs tend to link more to mainstream articles today, hoping to glean credibility and SEO juice in return. The problem with that is, Google’s analytics are smarter than any of us. And Google did, does, and always will reward authentic conversation. That is what has kept its search results useful over these many years. So don’t try to out-SEO Google. Try instead to read, care, and talk about what matters to you, then tell other people why you care about it, and why they should care.

THEN:
Most of us were blogging to get AWAY from our jobs, not as part of our jobs. Some of us were getting fired for blogging, and some others of us even made blogging careers out of getting fired for blogging.

NOW:
Blogging pays. Whether you are blogging about your personal hobby or about your professional passion, everyone loves a blogger. You are more likely to get laid off for not blogging than for blogging. In the process, however, bloggers have lost their authenticity of voice. How excited can you be about PR, really? Or technology? Or social media? It’s great that so many pundits have emerged from the ranks of blogging, and that so many have made careers out of it. But we really liked you best when you threw in the personal stuff, the parts about your kid’s visit to the principal, you dad’s final days in the hospital, the breakup with your longtime love. Don’t forget that stuff. It’s what makes this space special, me to you, the closest we get to flesh in pixels.

THEN:
Good conversations were the ones you couldn’t even trace the genesis of. So many people had blogged and linked to so many others, that the discussion became a web, a mini network of intellect or fart jokes within the larger network of nodes.We read other bloggers voraciously. We would seldom post without reading what other bloggers were saying. Links within a post were the only context we had. Links were organic to discussion. Links were a social grace. Links were etiquette. Linking to someone drew them into a discussion by virtue of the fact that you thought they were important enough to be there. That the conversation needed them. As readers we were concerned with the wattage of conversations, not the volume.

NOW:
The blogopshere is oversaturated with pundits and underserved by conversation. Bloggers think they deserve to be read. Instead of starting a discussion, they stake a claim. Just because you have a thought, however, doesn’t mean you’re a thought leader. Every idea doesn’t have to be yours. Everything you write doesn’t have to stand on its own. There are others in the blogosphere. You should invite them into your conversation by linking to something they’ve said about that same topic. Use links for context, talk with others, not at them.

Pretty Pretty Pinterest

Most people don’t know, but when Stewart and Caterina started Flickr, before they released it to the general public, some of us got to play with the beta version, which in retrospect reminds me (sort of) of pinterest today. In Flickr’s pre-light-of-dawn days, it allowed a stream of users to simultaneously watch one another share photos, as the sharer and the sharees (usually witty and sarcastic–remember, this was back when only goobers used social media) commented about them. I remember kittens, monkeys, and a pig shaped like something I probably can’t say here anymore.

Pinterest is like a grown up version of that old Flicker, mixed with social media commenting done right, meets consumerism, meets magazine, meets couponing, meets fine arts, meets education, with a dash of business marketing and PR (because you can’t keep brands off of these social tools today).

The demographics are fascinating. Social mouths posted an inforgraphic by modea that tells the story better than words can:

 

What I like best about Pinterest is the EXTREME attention to usability. I haven’t encountered a single glitch in building my pages. Another indication that social tools are growing up, taking care of bug fixes before release, not two versions down the road.

What I wish for is better integration of all my social spaces both inside my own brain and inside my browser.

In the mean time, I have to go check out the latest smoothie recipes. ;-)

To Blog (Or Not To Blog)…

I wrote To Blog or Not To Blog back in 2005 I think–Blogger.com just sent a note saying it was on their server with FTP capability and they don’t support that anymore. So I went ahead and updated it’s location.  Here’s a snippet:

It sounds obvious, but many corporations get it wrong. They create sites with a blog-like format but no personality. Their sites are updated frequently, but without identifying who the people posting are. Or, they are posted with intriguing thoughts and ideas, but don’t allow for public comments and discussion on the site. A sure way to drive readers away is to write a blog using a corporate voice rather than the discernible, unmistakable voice of a human being. The key to business blogging is that people—not the business—read, write, and respond. You can’t blog by Businesses can join the blogging movement in several ways.

First, they can develop an outward-facing corporate blog or internally-written employee blogs, which are supported by the organization to achieve specific results—whether those results are boosting the thought leadership of executives and employees to improve employee satisfaction and morale by giving employees a platform to exercise their voices, or to build better relationships through online conversations with customers and constituents.

Organizations may even choose not to blog at all from a corporate perspective, but to instead support and encourage employees in doing so on their own. Corporations are also using blogs internally to facilitate knowledge management, collaboration, customer relationship management, sales, and product development processes.

There are as many uses for blogs as there are people to write them.

But the point for business is: Conversations are already taking place among the millions of blogs that you can tap into. These conversations—about you, your industry, your company, your competitors, and your market—will occur whether you participate in them or not. Effective blogging will help you to participate in the kind of conversations that enhance your business, building relationships that make people want to do business with you.

A walk back in time, when the value of blogging was up for debate. Notsomuch anymore.

Infographics – 21st Century Comics for Grown-Ups

The rise of the infographic – those pictorial, USA-TODAY-resembling, visuals on steroids - are today’s comics for grown-up business people. Easy to digest, visually engaging, and soon to be downright annoying, look for infographics to add interactive and search capabilities and goodness knows what else. ;-)

Square is the New Long

We were doing some work with our designer on the new logo for The Sessum Group (yeah yeah the site is coming, cobbler’s children and all of that), and I noticed something I hadn’t thought of before: logos must be square. The designer came back with a really nice looking logo, horizontal, would have been jazzy across the top of our letterhead, and I was all: YES!  A strange thing happened on the way to social media though. It looked like crap in Facebook. The same logo that would have rocked corporate stationary didn’t scale down to a nice thumbnail, which, in a 140 character world, all businesses must do. If it doesn’t look good in a twitter profile square, or a facebook newsfeed icon, then it’s probably not the logo you need right now, today, in 2012, can you believe it’s 2012? GAH!

SO back to the drawing board we went, to square-proof our logo, so it would display well in the mini-pixel world of social media, where brands that best emblazen a postage stamp stand out and large-scale works of art are best saved for corporate headquarters wall art.

And so it goes…