Uttercast: This is Nothing New. Thought it Was?

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I had the pleasure yesterday of attending the New Marketing Summit (www.gonewmarketing.com). One of the presentations that hit a chord with me was by Chris Penn (www.christopherspenn.com), a friend and a founder of PodCamp. His message? This "new media" is not based on anything new. Newspapers rule web traffic, Twitter is the new ham radio, etc.

He’s right of course. I have been preaching in public relations that social media is not a new discipline but actually is a refocusing of our core skill: communications. The new tools are incredibly exciting, but they are layered on the ancient ability to communicate.

"What’s old is new again." That’s actually a clever series of posts by Brian Haven at http://birdahonk.com/. I agree. Do you?

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Uttercast: Taking it Apart

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I like to know how things work. I would love to take things apart and put them together again, to get a better understanding of what makes them tick. Of course, any of you who caught my messages during my recent WordPress upgrade for the blog knows that can be a bad idea.

The "seeing what makes things tick" meme is fraught with bad examples considering the next example I can think of is Sylar from NBC’S "Heroes" (www.nbc.com/heroes), whose ability to see how things work feeds a curiosity that turns him into a murderous animal. See?

But if I find that I take the trouble to figure out how something works, I can conquer the problem. Social media gives us extra sets of eyes to help us see (that’s how I figured out how I screwed up WordPress). Plus, seeing from a high level how all the parts fit togehter truly is a remarkable power. Isn’t it?

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Social Media Top 5: I Have Fallen Out of Favor (sniff)

time for another Social Media Top 5. I noticed two things after compiling this: refreshingly, no mention of the financial crisis (yet), and I haven’t been making stuff up so much lately (that alright with everyone?).

  1. Unofficial Top 50 Tweeples to Follow” announced, and who is NOT on the list? I am outraged and call for a boycott. I would be happy to present my Top Tweeple bona fides to an accredited independent arbiter. How could this happen (aside from my ignoring the voting process)? “Unofficial,” indeed!

    Seriously, congratulations to those of you veteran Twitterers who made the list. Enjoy your filthy ill-gotten spoils. This just adds insult to injury in a week where none of my Tweets made it onto the latest “Hack the Debate.”

  2. One reason for my sudden drop in popularity could be my lack of sartorial sophistication. Scott Monty, director of social media at Ford, has the answer, as always— the social media rock star is practically naked without collar stays! I look forward to Scott’s future posts in this series: garters for the well-socked man, suspenders (braces for you Brits) will take over for belts, and the proper way to break in your bowler hat. Keep ’em coming, and good luck promoting those new-fangled auto-mobiles!

  3. Nice, thought-provoking post by Jason Bender: “People Aren’t Brands. Ever.” I disagree, but many of the arguments may be semantic in nature. Go on over; what do you think?
  4. Saturday Night Live Bailout Sketch gets pulled from online sites. I was entertained by the conspiracy theorists saying the sketch was pulled because it made fun of the powerful George Soros. I tend to agree with folks who think it was pulled because the “People Who Should Be Shot” were not fictional characters. That could be a legal problem I suppose.
  5. I am fascinated by the way people’s opinions on use of social media change. Peter Kim is one of the latest examples, changing the way he uses Twitter. Now he follows (most) everyone back. More than my agreeing with that approach, it shows that “best practices” in these new media are evolving. Make your own best practices and run with them- oh, and publish them too.

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Uttercast: Brand is a Funny Thing

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Two thoughts on this dark (sorry) photo of a popular English pudding (it’s a pudding, correct?):

1- yes, the US and UK are two nations separated by a common language (pop quiz- whose quote is that?). The 13-year-old in my wants to make a hundred jokes on the name of this delicious delicacy.

2- Branding is a funny thing, isn’t it? This one is established, but would someone come up with such a name now and be taken seriously?

I would also like to point out an interview Shel Holtz conducted with Francois Gossieaux, found at http://blog.holtz.com/…ess_study/. One point Francois brought up that I love: the notion that "you don’t control your brand" is false. You have control. Yes, there are some things out of your control but really, that’s nothing new.

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Uttercast: Target Practice

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I always wondered how people expected their flyers posted on telephone poles to stand out. Look at all the staples on the pole in this picture. So many messages in one place!

Do they work? This pole is in a schoolyard so school events and local yard sales and church fairs ought to work.

As a PR person I am concerned with where, how and with whom messages work. These staple-festooned telephone poles remind us that message targeting is not confined to our social media world or our "traditional media" world. I’m trying not to make this sound cynical, but message targeting is equally important with our neighbors, our friends and our families. Heck, what a great way to practice!

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Uttercast: Season

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Fall is my favorite season. Living in New England, I think Autumn weather is the best. The first nip of cold, like this morning’s frosty air, is not depressing to me but invigorating. To me Fall is more a time of renewal than Spring, because school is back. the students are back, sports- pro and youth- are as busy as ever.

Is Fall then the best "brain" season? I don’t know. Winter brings out a survivor’s mentality that I find competitive. Everyone likes the renewed sunshine of Spring, and Summer is Summer.

I just feel that Fall is the real lock-it-down-and-get-it-done season.

What’s your season?

By the way, the fall foliage hasn’t made it down to Boston yet, but I have always liked this picture from the Esplanade on the Charles River.

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Uttercast: Reflections?

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After hearing Aaron Strout (@astrout) talk about his birthday and what amounted, in a way, to "social media reflections" in an Utterli post, I wondered: do we capture our learnings enough, and consistently? Do we map these to a plan for the next year? Do the goals we are asked to set in our goals work better if we bundle them with the goals for the rest of our lives?

I will probably mark my artificial "social media birthday" at some point this fall. I should remember these thoughts as I put it together.

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Social Media Top 5: Watch Your Tweets, Unconference, & Personal Brand for #$@%@s

time a for another weekly batch of observations related to social media:

  1. How cavalier are you about what you put on the Internet? Do you discuss politics on Twitter? Boy was I surprised to hear my snarky Tweets about this week’s Vice-Presidential debate ended up on Current TV’s broadcast of the debate. As part of their “Hack the Debates” program, Twitter messages about the debate were streaming on the screen- and on their Web site- throughout the debate. Thanks to Sean Percival for catching this on camera:

    Currents Hack the Debate with @dough

    I’m cool with what I wrote, but it makes you think– those messages in public forums, they can turn up anywhere can’t they? you can’t stop it, can you? Makes me think a little more about what I Tweet. Well, a little…

  2. Apple shareholders took a collective heart attack when a “citizen journalist” on CNN’s iReport reported that Steve Jobs had a massive coronary. No heart attack for Apple, but a big fat black eye for CNN and citizen journalism in general.

    Citizen journalism can work, but it’s obvious from this that self-policing (“Content that does not comply with Community Guidelines will be removed” – too late) and “public editing” is not enough in the high-stakes world of stock manipulation.

    iReport. “Unedited, Unfiltered, News.” No kidding.

  3. National Public Radio has expanded its online offerings, with an eye towards increased sharing of its programming. I love that thinking, I listen to several NPR podcasts already. This San Jose Mercury News story by Anick Jesdanun points out, however, that local stations might feel left out of the loop here. There has always been a pull between the public radio syndicators (NPR being the biggest of a few) and the individual stations, who rightly worry that a focus on the program source drains their fundraising base. This is an added dynamic to the usual talk about traditional radio vs. the newer social media distribution.

    Still, NPR has been innovative in using the Internet and social media, with very clever people like Andy Carvin helping it along. And some stations are doing well on their own, but not all have the resources (or Ken Georges) of a WBUR in Boston

  4. I blogged earlier today about the need for social media cliques to get out and mingle with the rest of the tech community- many of whom made social media tools possible. The Massachusetts Tech Leadership Council provided a great opportunity this week, as they put on their first “Unconference.”

    I was struck by how the crowd, not the standard “social media” set, took to the unconference format, putting together the session schedule in a matter of minutes and embracing the less formal nature of the setting.

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    I was also reminded of the ridiculously rich heritage of the Boston tech community, with the day’s events being led by leaders such as bill Warner of Avid Technologies (welcome him to Twitter, will ya?) and Dan Bricklin, co-creator of a little thing called the spreadsheet. And there were more. Special shoutout to the Bosto social media regulars who came out for the day, including Laura Fitton and Adam Zand.

  5. Last, Mashable is gathering a panel in New york City on personal branding. Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV is a great choice– high energy, popular, successful, well liked. But the other two? I understand they have something to say, but I hardly hold either up as a positive example of personal branding. Loren Feldman can be a bitingly funny satirist, but he can also be an antisocial pig who doesn’t know the line between funny and tiresome. Some of his online adventures are actually case studies in destroying personal brand– of yourself and others. Well, I can see how that would be interesting. The other is Julia Allison, the “famous for being famous” Paris Hilton of the Internet (and I again thank Geoff Livingston for comparing me favorably to her– I think). Is personal brand for personal brand’s sake really useful? I would love to hear reports from people who go to this thing.

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Uttercast: MassTLC; Outside the Comfort Zone

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Those of us in social media groups talk a lot about how important face to face is. An important adjunct is to get out of our regular groups as well. Face to face does not just enhance social media, it is a form of social media itself.

Going to the Mass Technology Leadership Council Unconference yesterday was a great case. Lots of people from the wider tech industry converged on social media as a topic. Those of us in the "social media clique" widened our networks with people who are important in a number of ways.

I just wish more of us had come.

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Uttercast: Old Media Comforts

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Admit it. You don’t just get nostalgic for "old" media. You still use it. Yes, your daily routine probably incorprates blogs, podcasts, social networks and other "new" media sources, but the old souurces are a source of comfort.

I still get the Sunday paper in print each week (and I still get mad that the local Starbucks doesn’t carry nearly enough copies of The Boston Globe). I also find that in times of big crises, I am more tempted to check out the evening news and cable shows that I often skip.

Is this due to the sense of urgency and the need for old comforts more than the comparative journalistic quality? Perhaps.

But it is interesting.

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