Bringing Social Media to the Masses; or Vice-Versa

To elaborate on something I talked about in the latest PRobecast podcast; heavy social media users are starting to realize that there is so far a finite audience for blogs, podcasts, and other social media, and that the next step is to expand the audience so that it is a mass audience. I guess that would make it a mass of niches, which is perfect.

More importantly, they–we–are talking about it, which I hope will lead to action.

I first noticed that this step was necessary back in September at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo. Everyone at the conference was a podcaster or already involved in some way. There was no evangelism that I saw to get bigger audiences involved. We were still too excited about the new medium, and talking about ways to improve our podcasts, share tips and network with like-minded people.

To be sure, some people talked about maturing the medium– growing the audience– I think Leo Laporte probably mentioned it in his live show, but I don’t recall specifically.

One of the ringleaders is Chris Brogan, whom I met last summer as he was helping to organize the first PodCamp in Boston. He wrote an excellent post called “Extending the Conversation,” which pointed to two other posts, by Christopher Penn–another PodCamp founder– and Charlie O’Donnell, who wrought a post on “Top Ten Reasons Why Web 2.0 Sucks.” He encouraged people to go over there and comment, and so do I.

Chris Brogan came back with a post based on feedback, called “5 Ways to Extend the Conversation.” Please read this one too.

The main thing I took out of this is that social media users are ready to act to make blogs, podcasts, etc. into mass use and acceptance. This means going outside of the social media “echo chamber” and bringing people in. If you know a professional blog or have one, bring in your colleagues that don’t blog in addition to the existing community. If you have a blog for the community in which you leave, tell your fellow homeowners/Little League parents/PTO parents about it. Go to real life meetups, Town meetings, the playground, professional networking and tell them about specific blogs or podcasts in which they will be interested.

Go out, and bring ‘em back! Tell them to follow links and look at blog rolls. Emphasize that this does not replace your real-life social circles, but extends it and enriches it.

This has worked, to an extent so far, for the Garden City blog of Newton, Ma, started by my friend Chuck Tanowitz and Kristine Munroe. It will work for you too.
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New Podcast Up: PRobecast #13: Military PR, Extending the Conversation, Disclosure on Blogs

Just posted a new episode of PRobecast, the public relations podcast I produce with my colleagues at Topaz partners.

This week’s panel, Adam Zand, Tim Allik, Paul Hughes, Todd Van Hoosear and myself, discuss:

  1. Military PR issues. Topazer and former military public affairs officer Paul Hughes joins us for a perspective on the Pat Tillman story. manufacturing stories or will they come back to bite you?
  2. Audio comment: Bryan Person brings up blog transparency; does a blog without bylines have a disclosure problem? A discussion arose online about the Air Hybrid Blog, which Topaz maintains for Scuderi Group. Kami Huyse also blogged about it, and it became an example of a blog conversation taking a positive turn, with rapid responses and practical changes.
  3. Is Web 2.0 a conversational vacuum? Extending the conversation, with help from Chris Brogan, Christopher Penn, This is going to be BIG! and the Garden City Blog. Yes, Doug brings up Twitter.
  4. Tech Product of the Week: the Barbie MP3 player. Hear me sing Aqua
  5. Stock Pick of the Week: MySpace goes to China. By the way– who was the first big Western rock act to play mainland China?
  6. MySpace again: couple goes to MySpace to adopt a child. I manage to bring up Twitter again.
  7. Barack Obama on Twitter? Jury is out.

We want your comments! (Sen. Obama, ease up on the exclamation points)

Text: comment below or email bmoc@topazpartners.com
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All the Best Ideas Come From Brooklyn

I have always paid more attention to things that come out of Brooklyn– many of my more interesting friends and mentors are from the fabled borough, and nothing beats the Brooklyn Dodgers for baseball lore.

So when Jason Calacanis, a person I first came across when he was editor of the Silicon Alley Reporter and I was a callow PR flack, posted rules about how to link bait him, I had to read it.

It has actually been interesting to see Jason’s latest iterations: WebLogs entrepreneur, Netscape chief, “Entrepreneur in Residence,” all with larger-than-life personality intact. Though I had never met him in person, I recognized him immediately at the Podcast Expo last fall, as he was waving his BlackBerry around, exclaiming that he got a call from the Podfather, Adam Curry (myself and the group I was with were not impressed at the time, as most of us, had received several call and messages from him over the last few weeks). EDIT– I later discovered this was part of a drinking game proposed by Robert Scoble, which made me laugh

The point of this post? I want to see if the link baiting rules work. Jason certainly doesn’t need my link to him, but I would be curious about the reaction, and if other popular bloggers will follow suit in being so forthcoming about how they play the linking game…

Plus, I’m having a shallow moment. Does that make me bad? I don’t care.

ADDED: About Link Baiting: if Jason does link to this and I get traffic, will I keep it? I believe that good content keeps people, promotion (and link whoring) gets them there. So if you like my posts, stick around, if you don’t, that’s ok. I don’t make my living on this blog

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The Legion of Creepy Actors

Walken 2008Some time ago, I decided that certain actors represented a certain level of, well, creepiness, and were worthy of their own legion (think “Legion of Doom,” Superfriends fans). Two years ago, I posted my original Legion of Creepy Actors in a blog read by approximately zero people, the Pop Culture Gems blog put up by Topaz Partners as a fun training blog to get all Topazers used to blogging. I decided it was time to dust off the list, update it a little, post it here so my mom can read it, and see if anyone has additional suggestions.

The members of the Legion of Creepy Actors are:

Founding Members:
John Malkovich– no explanation needed

Alan Rickman–Thin-lipped British representative of all things creepy

Gary Oldman– Even if he hadn’t played Dracula

Peter Weller– Not just Robo-Cop, but in particular, “Naked Lunch,” and even his recent appearances on “Enterprise” and “24”– I mean, that voice…

Willem Dafoe– no explanation needed

Christopher Walken– He’s even creepy on Saturday Night Live (“I pranked him to death with a tire iron”)

Crispin Glover– It takes talent to bring a creepy vibe to “Back to the Future,” and recent roles in “Charlie’s Angels” and “Willard” show he can still bring the creepy.

Eric Roberts– ah yes, the man who brought us “Star 80″ is now slithering his way across the set of NBC’s “Heroes.”

Ralph Fiennes– not satisfied with playing a repugnant Nazi, he is now portraying Voldemort

Junior Members:
Jude Law– You can actually interpret a scene in “Existenz” as Willem DaFoe ‘initiating’ Law into the Legion. If you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about.

Christian Bale– American Psycho, the Machinist

Cillian Murphy– His turn in “Batman Begins” alone gets him on the list– and “Red Eye” helped his resume a little

Adjunct members: (I’m kind of on the fence about these):
Steve Buscemi (way too likeable in some movies)

There could also be an ancient league, comprised of old timers such as Eduardo Cianelli, John Carradine, and Peter Lorre, but perhaps that’s a different post.
I may have left some out, and reserve the right to change the list. Feel free to add your nominations.


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Will Podcasts Kill the Radio Star?

Listening to the latest episode– #177– of Joseph Jaffe’s Across the Sound podcast, I was struck by something he said. He declared– and I paraphrase– that podcasts will take over radio and kill it.

Sound provocative? Yes. Sound absurd? Maybe not. Podcasts have not hit the mainstream yet–only 13% have listened to a podcast according to Edison Research, as apposed to 11% a year ago. How can that compete with the radio listenership of, um, 100%.

So right, maybe Jaffe’s full of shit and trying to shock us.

No, wait. Here’s what this made me think. Humans are repetitive monkeys, fated to repeat ourselves, and with history in mind, we can see what could happen.

Jack BennyThink of the late 1940’s to early 1950’s. How did TV eclipse radio? As soon as the networks saw TV gaining traction, they moved all of their popular shows from the radio networks to TV. All of them. Jack Benny. Burns and Allen. The Lone Ranger. Dragnet. Life of Riley. Abbott and Costello. Amos and Andy.

That is what I think will happen with podcasting. Radio broadcasters need to see the line drawn– where podcasting takes hold in popularity, and radio numbers take a nosedive.

Not surprisingly, NPR is ahead of the curve. Many of their shows are already available as podcasts– and that is how I usually hear the ones I want. Granted, they are still going strong on the radio, but the radio-to-TV migration had years of overlap as well.

It would be very interesting if this is how it turns out– that time-shifting podcasts take root and not merely kill radio, but move it whole sale to a new medium, alongside the great innovators and niche programmers we already have.

*Photo via Flickr from the Rocketeer

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New Podcast: PRobecast #12 from Topaz Partners

Another glimpse of where I work– the latest episode of the weekly PR-related podcast from Topaz Partners, PRobecast Episode 12

I’m not in this one! But hey, I’m not proud… as usual, cross-posted from Tech PR Gems:

This week’s panel, Tim Allik and Rob Capra, discuss:

  1. Tim Allik’s recent journey to the SAE World Congress auto show in Detroit, and his liveblogging efforts from same.
  2. Virginia Tech– appropriateness and effects of NBC running the shooter’s video.
  3. China needs PR professionals– who knew?
  4. The Pet Food problem continues– the PR campaign does too, and the industry gets Tim’s Bright Side award for getting away with its less than forthcoming attitude prior to the crisis.
  5. Rob found $400. What could he do with it?
  6. The Battle of the Podcast Theme Songs is live now, as we finally take on the first challenger, BusinessWeek’s Cutting Edge podcast. Vote early and often!

We want your comments!

Text: comment below or email bmoc@topazpartners.com
Audio: Leave a comment at +1-781-404-2419, or Skype doug.haslam

You can subscribe to the podcast via Podcast Ready
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Turner Field, Atlanta; A Baseball Fan’s Perspective. Kill me now!!!


Atlanta– Turner Field

Originally uploaded by douglashaslam.
On vacation in Atlanta last week, took the wife and son to Turner Field to catch the Braves vs. The Chicago Cubs. Despite the title of this post, we actually had a very good time. A close game with a lot of action, and we arrived early to catch batting practice, with my son getting an autograph from the Cubs’ Cliff Floyd, and the wife getting a good seat at the right field tavern for a pre-game quaff.

What did inspire the title of the post was the in-game “entertainment.” After every pitch– every freakin’ pitch!– there was some loud burst of crowd encouragement. The bugle “charge,” Addams Family theme, “Car Wash” Claps, and literal exhortations to “make some noise.” I had a headache by the third inning.

Now I know this isn’t the first rant about such stadial nonsense, but I just had to go with the moment fresh from the event. Perhaps I am a jaded ol’ New England fan of the Boston Red Sox, but I went to Turner to see a baseball game. If I’m going to make some noise, it’s because the game is exciting. And I don’t need some talentless bimbos shooting T-shorts out of the T-shirt-shooter.

Perhaps the Braves exec’s need to do these things to motivate the so-called fans. I don’t know, but I was really put off.

That said, there were some really nice things, including a Braves museum signifying an overall sense of history around the park, and some appropriately simple activities for kids in the outfield concourse. Plus, the stadium was nice, and accessible.

But my God, the noise…

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New Podcast Up– PRobecast #11

Just posted PRobecast, Episode 11 of Topaz Partners’ weekly PR-related podcast.

(Cross-posted at Tech PR Gems)

This week’s panel, Adam Zand and yours truly, discuss:

  1. Imus and Duke Lacrosse: a PR perspective on these two recent controversies. And shut up, Kelly Ripa.
  2. PodCamp NYC: Adam introduces his own report from the event.
  3. Blogger Code of Conduct: do we need one?
  4. Bambi Francisco leaves Marketwatch: conflict of interest? And podcasters take note: Frank Barnako is gone as well.
  5. Stock tip of the week: GOOG, and getting your news tips faster via Twitter.
  6. Happy Patriots Day/Boston Marathon Day/April Blizzard Day, Jackie Robinson Day, and RIP Kurt Vonnegut.

Wear Sunscreen.

We want your comments!

Text: comment below or email bmoc@topazpartners.com
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Leaving Podcast Comments: Content Over (Sound) Quality

Having been involved in radio for years before going into public relations, and now being very involved with podcasting- included producing a podcast with my colleagues at Topaz Partners, it is tempting to accept only well-recorded content. By that I mean using a decent microphone and editing for best sound quality, even when simply leaving a comment for another podcast.

In radio, “phone sound” was the dreaded result of inferior setups and last-minute arrangements. To be avoided at any cost, as we were always proud of our production quality. So, I have recorded an occasional comment at my office and sent it off to For Immediate Release, New Comm Road, Six Pixels of Separation, and other podcasts to which I listen regularly.

I have found, though, that I am at my best when in the car going to work. No studio in there, just my cell phone. So, do I call when the ideas are fresh in my head and when my energy level is up, or do I wait until I have time at the office, am a bit hushed so as not to disturb the office, and have let the ideas go stale. The answer is obvious. Call and go off the cuff. I think it adds to the content even if the quality is less than ideal, and often makes the difference between recording a good comment and not doing it at all.

I should add that I thought about this topic after responding to Bryan Person‘s Twitter question, “When (where?) are you at your creative best?”

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Yet another Podcast: PRobecast #10

Welcome to the PRobecast, Episode 10 of Topaz Partners’ weekly podcast.

This week’s panel,Tim Allik, Rob Capra and I, discuss:

  1. UMass Boston’s Center For Media and Society and New England Ethnic News- Topaz recently spoke with students who are incorporating social media into their online news site
  2. A look at Technorati chief David Sifry’s “State of the Live Web” report
  3. Video blogger Josh Wolf released from prison
  4. Search Engine Marketing a threat to PR?
  5. PodCamp NYC, the PodCamp Foundation, and liveblogging
  6. Bright Side: Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin
  7. PRSA Boston’s 2007-2008 Scholarship Grant Program
  8. So long InfoWorld (print)
  9. Battle of the Podcast Themes is coming– honest!

Keep the feedback coming!

Text: comment below or email bmoc@topazpartners.com
Audio: Leave a comment atl +1-781-404-2419, or Skype doug.haslam
Video: email a file to bmoc@topazpartners.com

You can subscribe to the podcast via Podcast Ready
or iTunes.

Or simply use the RSS link here: View RSS XML

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