Monday, August 11, 2008

Social Networking in Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

Social Networks are a phenomenon amongst the younger generation of Internet uses, and has continue to grow in popularity amongst old users as well. The next growth in social network sites and usage will be among business users with networks such as LinkedIn. The business usage of social networks is still in its infancy and many small and large companies are struggling to understand how to best leverage for their own uses as well as being able to sanction usage by their employees.

There are many large successful social network sites that give you access to millions of users in various demographic ranges. These large social networks provide a great opportunity for you business to setup and maintain a healthy presence and network with many users.

There are also many niche social networks popping up on the Internet today which cater to very specific demographic audience usually in a very focused topical area. These niche social network sites provide a very targeted opportunity for you to reach and interact with your audience.

Social Networks provide a wonderful opportunity for you to monitor and participate in the conversation, build knowledge and wisdom from that conversation and also stream your presence back out to your audience increasing the awareness of your company its products, services and brand.

  • Launch Social Network
  • Major Social Network Profile Management
  • Niche Social Network Profile management
  • Social Network Application Development

Choose from our services above to get more details on specific social media marketing services areas.

Streaming and Syndicating Your Companies Activity

Telling the world about your businesses products and service has been around since the beginning of time, how you do this has evolved with each generation of business. The latest evolution of this consists of streaming the activities of your company, its staff, and your marketing efforts online in the social media space.

There are many web 2.0 tools these days for getting your message out onto the social web. These tools include video sharing sites such as YouTube and Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace. These tools provide you with the tools you need to stream or broadcast your companies products, services, and message to the world.

There are also many forms in which you can stream your message and activities to the public, it is valuable to stream your message and activities in as many different formats as you can so it is universally available. This means you have formal and informal text content, images, videos, slideshows, audio, and many other different variations of your message available.

Having a standard platform and message for streaming your activities and message to the public from is critical to presenting yourself to your audience through the platforms and tools they already use everyday. Streaming your message in many formats and through many platforms ensures your message and brand reaches users where they already participate in the conversation online, and increases their awareness of your products and services.

  • Audio Syndication
  • Blog Syndication
  • Bulk Email Communication
  • Image Syndication
  • Micro Blogging
  • Press Syndication
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Video Syndication
  • Web Site Syndication
  • Widget Deployment

Choose from our services above to get more details on specific social media marketing services areas.

Content Creation for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

Social media content is at the heart of the web these days. Blogs, Video, Images, Audio, and other social media is what you use to listen in on the conversation and build an awareness of the audience and conversation that is taking place. To participate in the conversation you need to communicate through the creation of content as well. Content creation is as simple as posting comments on blogs or employing a complete production team to make videos each week.

Content creation starts with adhoc blog commenting and blog posting on your on blog. Then content creation grows when you start getting more organized and planning your content creation with a schedule, topical focus, keywords and url references, and much more planning and cohesiveness to your content creation.

No matter how big your team is, planning is crucial to a clear, coherent, and relevant content creation for your social media campaign. Your content is your contribution to the social web and represents your companies online presence, so make sure it reflects how you want people to see you.

  • Article
  • Audio
  • Blog
  • Image
  • Slideshow / Screencast
  • Video
  • Wiki

Choose from our services above to get more details on specific social media marketing services areas.

Building Knowledge and Wisdom from the Conversation

Knowledge and wisdom is the most important piece you can extract from any social media campaign. Not matter what type of strategy you implement, learning from the conversation is where you should focus and the rest will come with it.

Any amount of information can be obtained from many different conversational sources throughout your campaign, the following areas are typical conversational information sources; Blogs, Forums, Question and Answer Sites, Video Sharing Sites, Image Sharing Sites, Audio Sharing Sites, Search Engines.

All this information can be organized in many shapes and forms for you to access. The real question is how you analyze and evaluate this information for it to become knowledge and wisdom.

When monitoring the conversation it is easy to read what is said and evaluate from your perspective. The most valuable thing you can do in conversation monitoring throughout social media is to truly listen, and try and see the content from the public's point of view. The most limiting thing you can do is just to see things from your perspective.

As you conduct any social media campaign information should be identified as being valuable to your efforts and gathered using RSS, XML and other methods and organized in a searchable and easy to organize database for access in the future.

Your knowledge can be used to constantly steer your campaign, assist you in creating content, and help in driving your business and marketing decision throughout your business.

  • Audio Aggregation
  • Content Creation
  • Google Custom Search Engine
  • Google Docs
  • Google Notebook
  • Google Reader
  • Image Aggregation
  • Video Aggregation

Choose from our services above to get more details on specific social media marketing services areas.

Conversation Monitoring and Participation

On the Internet there is a conversation going on. Everyone is participating in this conversation, using Social media. Pick a topic, the environment, politics, Britney Spears or your product and people are talking about it. They talk about it using Blogs, on video using Youtube, with images using Flickr, and they share and interact with others using MySpace and other social networks.

This conversation happens everyday with or without your company being involved, people are talking about business their services, products and other trends as they see them. They talk about their every day lives and how these products, services and trends affect them. They do this in a very open and sometimes brutally honest way.

It is critical for every business to at a very least listen in on this conversation and see what people are saying. The conversation provides a realistic perspective of how your customer base views your industry, products, and services. The Internet gives us an opportunity to view this conversation in a way that focus groups and other traditional techniques do not provide.

Monitoring the conversation is a great way for your business to build an awareness of your customer base, trends, and what your competition is doing. Monitoring can be done by reading blogs, forums, question and answer sites, video sharing, and other social networks.

Reading and monitoring the conversation on daily basis will provide valuable information that your business can use through your business and marketing strategies. It will also give you an understanding of your audience and customers in a way that you may have never been able to before.

  • Audio Monitoring
  • Blog Monitoring
  • Contact Relationship
  • Forum Management
  • Question and Answer Monitoring
  • Search Engine Monitoring
  • Video Monitoring
  • Wiki Monitoring

Choose from our services above to get more details on specific social media marketing services areas.

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Test Driving co.mments.com

I was just test driving a new bookmarking and comment tracking tool called co.mments.com. I test drive these types of web services to see if there is a fit for use on social media marketing campaigns.

It is a pretty simple straightforward approach...which I like. I prefer applications to do one thing and do it well.

The tool has me bookmark my conversations as apposed to CoComment which is a firefox add-on and just tracks comments I place automatically.

Maybe the tool needs mature a little and get a firefox add-on and some other bells and whistles. Then I could possibly find a use for it. Until then CoComment does the trick.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Adding Forum Search to the Google Universal Stack

I was doing some research tonight for a new social media marketing campaign tonight....I perform due diligence on a topic by running through the Google Search Toolbar...web,images, video and blogs.

Then I jump over to use BoardTracker and BoardReader to search through forums on different topics.

I think Google should go ahead and purchase one of these forum search engines and add it to their universal search stack.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quick Launch RSS from Blog on Web Site

I was looking for a quick way to get our Social Media Squad blog on the home page and feature area on our new Social Media Squad web site.

I wanted it to be a real-time feed, so I chose to go with a JavaScript RSS Feed, and I quickly found Feed2JS.

I was able to select:
  • URL of the RSS Feed
  • Number of items to display
  • Amount of RSS description to show
  • Show item posting date
  • Open links in a new window
I is nice to just find quality simple tools available out there in cyberspace that you can use to make your life easier...and get work done.

Latest Wordpress

I was just helping Ahren launch the new Social Media Squad Blog, and we are using the new Wordpresss.

I am really impressed with the functionality. I was able to combine several blogs over the past couple years into one. I did it in minutes.

The interface is very well done. I will review more...

Explaining What Social Media Is

I am constantly explaining to people what social media is and what social media marketing is. So it is great when I come across great visual explanations for people.

Looking Through NPR's API / Toolset

I am an NPR addict. I have a serious problem...I admit it. I measure the productivity of my day on how many of their programs I actually manage to listen to. Ok that is out of the way.

Anyways, I was looking through their new API and Tools section and I am intrigued by it. Not sure exactly what I would do with it yet.

They offer access to audio, text, images and other web only content from as far back as 1995. This archive consists of over 250,000 stories that are grouped into more than 5,000 different aggregations.

Good stuff. I wish more media companies would put their assets online, would be a great way to revitalize their libraries and interest in their operations.

Though I may not think of a great mashup or way to remix this content there are users who would, why not give them the data and tools.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Using Your Social Network Education Profile

I was just going through linked for our business social media squad. I came up with a use for the education part of your profile.

I will start recording everything new we learn as a company...and publish.

Seems it would show good in the search results?

LinkedIn Lately..

I just signed up for a business account for our business Social Media Squad. I'm curious what it will bring me. I think LinkedIn is on a good path, they are moving to provide more value to us business owners.

I've started monitoring the questions and answers on LinkedIn more. I find a lot of valuable information on there and make some good connections as well.

Most people I connect with on an answer usually add me as a connection.

I'm going to play around with training myself to remember questions I have and start posting questions as well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Big Companies and their Understanding Social Media

I just got off a conference call with a big, well known manufacturer. They are launching a new "viral campaign" this fall.

I came to the table with many social and viral ideas including widgets and a simple / slick OpenSocial / Facebook application.

They weren't interested. They wanted to start small and keep things focused and manageable. Which makes sense. Except there was nothing viral about the campaign except that the word viral was used everywhere.

I understand that big brands are wary of Social Media Marketing, and taking small manageable baby steps in the beginning is important. However you should call it what it is. Online marketing, not viral social media marketing.

Just venting after the call.....getting down my thoughts.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Social Network Account / Profile Management

We offer social network account and profile management to our clients on a regular basis. It is a lot of work to maintain your social network profile.

I find I can spend a good hour a day on MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn for my own personal profile. I didn't even touch my other profiles such as Orkut, Bebo, Hi5, Mashables, Fast Company, and on and on.

Just making sure your account is logged into everyday and your profile is fresh is a lot of work.

Next I try to find new business contacts (friends), joing groups, and find other relative content and contacts to whatever I do.

I try to setup and kick off most social network account management contracts for clients so I get in tune with the area we are targeting and try to set the tone for the account management. It helps me give direction to the employee / contractor who will actually be implementing the daily part of the social media marketing campaign.

Really this could be a full time job for someone if a company really wants to have a big presence and connect with people daily, but I find at least a little time each week is what really matters.

Establishing Your Profile Real Estate

I think I've talked on this topic before. I am going through and setting up a series of MySpace profiles for a client and establishing several "conversational" profiles so they can reach a certain audience.

I am amazed at even MySpace how many good URL user names are still available. An example is http://www.myspace.com/kinlane/ which is the URL representation of your MySpace profile.

It is much like securing the domain name for your company. You should go to all major and even some minor social networks and sites and secure your username.

Even if you don't actively use the account, make sure and secure it so that you have the name and login for the future. You never know when a network or application will go viral and having your company name or your industry / product name can become very valuable.

Think if you had http://www.myspace.com/traveling/ or something similar. It would be very valuable.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Embracing Your Audience

It seems like a very simple concept. Talk to you customers, get to know what they want. Let them help you formulate your decisions around your company, products, and services.

Seems to make sense, but really it can very hard for a lot of companies to open up to their customers. Traditional business practices somehow keep this from being common place.

In this age of social media and user generated content, the audiences voice is getting stronger and can no longer be ignored.

I was just reading an article about Google's new Gmail Play area. Where they are releasing new features to anyone who wants to get involved and give feedback.

I have read many case studies and articles showcasing various companies efforts in these areas, such as Lego, Google, GE, and many others.

It just makes sense....get your customers involved...especially the passionate ones. Let them in on research and development you are doing. Listen to them, then let this information help you make your decisions on how to run your company.

Now remember...its not as easy as it sounds. There are pitfalls to consider....

Friday, June 6, 2008

When Twitter is down...


When Twitter is down....how do I tell everyone about it? Need some Jaiku I guess.....or good old fashioned Blog!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Distributed Data and Syndication

I am building out a pretty complex system that really seems like a lot of overhead to get some pretty basic systems up.

It involves republishing small subsets of data to various data stores such as MySQL, Amazon S3, GData, or just XML.

Then I syndicate web services / feeds in RSS, XML, JSON to those little data stores.

I keep getting asked why don't you just allow one central data feed off main data store.

From a security and load balancing standpoint the distributed piece just makes sense. It allows me to publish on a schedule these small data stores for each partner / client. I can give them access directly to the raw data as well as the feed.

Also the feed and data can scale and grow independently of the central data store. It really helps me to scale data feeds and each partners needs.

Alright....just jotting down these thoughts in case I change them..

Tear Jerker on NPR

Those of you know me, know that I'm an NPR junkie....I love the stories and music. I listen to the StoryCorp programs every week. Many touching stories.

There was one today that really moved me:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90959458


It was a mom telling the story about how her 9 year old son died watching a sunset.

WOW. That was moving.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Maintaining My Profile

As I am doing things every night...I am uploading files, downloading files, making database updates, and bulk find / replaces I try to maintain my profile.

Being in the social media business it seems I should have a more complete profile, at least on the major networks.

It is a lot of work to maintain multiple social network profiles, keep track of blogs, images, videos, and all the other stuff.

Think I'll hire someone to help me with my profile.

RSS Feeds for All Businesses

I know I've ranted about this before, but here we go again. It cannot be said enough. EVERY business that has a web site and has information on the Internet needs to provide RSS Feeds for that data.

I am looking for product review web sites right now. Looking to harvest data on different product areas and feed it back out to users. I am not looking to harness the traffic, it will go to the source of the reviews. I do this to get data and statistics and ultimately provide value to end-users.

4 out of 5 sites I come across have reviews but do not have an RSS Feed. I understand that some people are worried about their proprietary data, well.....get over it. RSS will generate new users and syndicate your content beyond your web site.

If you can't figure out how to have an RSS feed, go get a Wordpress blog and start using that!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Google's New AJAX Libraries API

Just came across Google's New AJAX Libraries API. I was wondering when someone was going to merge together all the common JavaScript libraries out there into a single set of libraries.

The AJAX Libraries API is a content distribution network and loading architecture for the most popular open source JavaScript libraries. By using the Google AJAX API Loader's google.load() method, your application has high speed, globaly available access to a growing list of the most popular JavaScript open source libraries including:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Speaking at the UO American Marketing Association

I spoke last night at the UOAMA which is a student run marketing organization that aims to connect students with professional marketers and offer insight into the marketing profession through the avenues of solid leadership, strong communication, real-world marketing experience, and charitable involvement.

I spoke on the topic of online marketing and social media marketing. Unfortunately my wife Ishi couldn't be there.

It was an interesting group of young students, and an interesting group.

Here is the outline I used for my speech:

Your Website
  • Make an outline for your site
  • Keep your goals simple in everything you do
  • Be involved with planning with your designer
  • Have control, ask for a content management system (CMS)
  • Understand and have control over your META tags
  • Pay for good Internet hosting
  • Buy your own domain name
  • Use a website traffic / analytics package
  • Name your pages and folders using keyword rich names
  • Bulleted and ordered lists
  • Simple, readable content that gets to the point
  • Keep design readable, appropriate for audience and accessible across all platforms, browsers.
Market Analysis
  • Maintain a keyword list
  • Identify top keywords
  • Use Google to define your market arena
  • Asses your competitions strengths & weakness
  • Identify your allies and partners
  • Track top ranking using spreadsheet
  • Use Google Alerts for new additions
  • Monitor market on a schedule
Link Management
  • Maintain a keyword list
  • Match keywords with top link targets on your site
  • Keep keyword and link list fresh
  • Track your outbound link traffic
  • Exchange valuable links
  • Research sites to get links placed
  • Use keywords inbound and outbound links
  • Quality not quantity
Content
  • Content Creation
    • Write fresh content on a regular basis
    • Use your keyword list to enrich content
    • Use your link list to link your content to site
    • Change your site copy from time to time
    • Write for users but consider search engines
  • Universal Search
    • Use Google's navigation as reference.
    • Create content in multiple format
    • Syndicate to multiple locations
Social Media Marketing
  • Listening to the Conversation
    • Blog Monitoring
    • Question and Answer Monitoring
    • Forum Monitoring
    • Video Monitoring
    • Image Monitoring
    • Audio Monitoring
    • Search Engine Monitoring
  • Reputation Monitoring
    • Listen to what people are saying
    • Respond quickly to negative feedback.
  • Content Creation
    • Blog
    • Articles
    • Videos
    • Image
    • Audio & Podcasts
    • Slideshows / Screencasts
    • Wikis
  • Activity Streaming
    • Blog Syndication
    • Social Bookmarking
    • Audio Syndication
    • Video Syndication
    • Image Syndication
    • Press Syndication
    • Micro Blogging
  • Social Networking
    • Maintain a profile on top social networks
    • Make friends
    • Join Groups
    • Keep it Active
Conclusion
  • Have a plan
    • Maintain a keyword focus
    • Maintain a link focus
    • Track the market
    • Assess your performance
    • Adjust your strategy often
  • Schedule
    • Dedicate time every week
    • Even if its one hour
    • Build momentum and rhythm
You can view a presentation at: http://www.originalwebsolutions.com/online_marketing/index.html

Monday, April 21, 2008

Small Business Online Operations Plan

I have been working with my brother-in-law to really escalate the operations of his small business Thinwrench, which offers custom wrench and tool manufacturing. He has had the business since the 1990's and has had the site since I believe 2001.

The site gets a fair amount of traffic and it generates a small trickle of orders for him though out the year, but nothing really significant. It is impressive though considering he does next to nothing to maintain or evolve the site, it's content, and online presence.

So we are always trying to get together and breathe some life into it. He is a real smart guy who has almost zero time to put into his business outside his day job. This is definitely a common problem for aspiring entrepreneurs.

So I have launched a new BETA version of his small business web site using the same look, but hoping to give him a new set of content management (CMS) tools to assist him in making his site maintenance and syndication easier.

My goal with the new small business online operations plan is to give a simple framework to:
So I put together a basic outline that lays out the plan for:
  • Writing home page, about us, and contact us content for use on his web site as well as throughout his online marketing and social media marketing efforts.
  • Develop a list of initial products he will offer through his small business web site.
  • Develop a list of initial services his business will offer through his small business web site.
  • Establish a basic keyword marketing strategy to use as a framework when marketing his site and writing content.
Once his site is up with the new content we will start laying out:
  • Marketing Plan Outline
  • Online Marketing Plan Outline
  • Social Media Marketing Plan Outline
  • Advertising Plan Outline
We will keep each plan and strategy simple and realistic and easy to implement. My goal is for him to be successful and not get overwhelmed with strategy and execution and never get anywhere.

He probably has 4-8 hours a week maximum to spend on his web site maintenance, content creation, marketing, advertising, and overall online presence. That isn't much.

He has to execute in the 1st round so he has a deep understanding of how the site maintenance, marketing, social media marketing and advertising process works before he can delegate to anyone else. This is critical as the owner of a small business.

So keeping it simple and obtainable, and employing an agile process for executing, evaluating and planning for changes every week is crucial.

I will keep posting on his progress, challenges and successes.

Participate in Question and Answer Sites to Market Yourself

I go through spurts where I monitor and participate on Question and Answer web sites. Usually I monitor Yahoo Answers & LinkedIn Answers via RSS feeds.

I gather a lot of information and knowledge this way and keep organized using tags in Google Reader and Google Notebook.

I also participate and give my answer or feedback on questions from time to time.

I haven't been doing this for a couple months now, but I did actively participate for months at a time.

I recently got the following email off LinkedIn:

For a while now, I've been digging around for answers to a question that no one seems to be able to answer. Your name keeps coming up in my searches. If you don't mind, I would like to tap your brain.

How would you project your monthly costs in terms of storage and bandwidth if you didn't know
how much traffic to expect on your startup photo/video sharing site?

This is just one notable connection I've made via social networks, thought it showed the value of a continued presence for your business on Questions and Answer web sites.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bad Debt in America and How Bad it Really Is

I was just watching Bill Maher and was listening to their discussion on Kevin Phillips book called Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, and Cornel West said something that summed up how sad things really are:

We can see how sad this really is.
If we really want to tell the truth in a powerful way.
We have corporate greed running a muck.
We don't have enough jobs with a living wage for fellow citizens.
Unavailable health care and child care for millions.
Disgraceful school systems.
Failing infrastructure.
Then you have a political sphere where you can't have a critical debate or dialogue about these issues.
Then we have imperial occupation in Iraq.
That is the makings the collapse of an empire.

Cornel West said several things that were extremely well spoken and enlightening, but this statement really summed up my concerns at the moment during this election.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fast Track to Widgets, Facebook, and OpenSocial Apps

I have been deploying large amounts of widgets, Facebook and OpenSocial applications to various social networks and platforms lately.

Even though I am a programmer I have been able to do much of my heavy lifting using tools that are already available to me without any programming at all.

I use a combination of Youtube, Ning, Flickr and other social media content platforms. I then syndicate using their native tools and build widgets using Widgetbox. Once I have my widgets deployed on Widgetbox I can then easily deploy to Facebook, Bebo, MySpace, IGoogle, Orkut and any other platform that embraces OpenSocial.

I am putting together a series of slides based upon this process for others to use. Look for another post regarding this process.

Friday, April 4, 2008

50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth

My wife and I just finished launching a new site for a client called 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. It is the revised, updated edition of a book originally released in the 1990's and was New York Times bestseller.

We have been working hard for 3 months to design, develop and launch the site to support he book's release by Earth Day.

It is a significant site for us. It is our first major release on the Original Web Solutions Version 4.0 Architecture and if I must say is a really nice site.

We are really proud of the design and architecture. It uses the OWS Network build methodology deployed on the Mosso Hosting Cloud to support the amount of traffic. In the first 12 hours we have had 500 people.

Also this site is exciting because of its simple approach to enlightening the world about little things they can do to save the world!

Make sure and check it out. www.50simplethings.com.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Yet Another Google API, this Time for Visualizations

The Google Visualization API lets you access multiple sources of structured data that you can display, choosing from a large selection of visualizations.

The Google Visualization API also provides a platform that can be used to create, share and reuse visualizations written by the developer community.

You can embed visualizations directly into your website and display attractive data on your website by choosing from visualizations created by the developer community.

The Google Visualization API provides simple Gadget extensions to its API to create visualization Gadgets. Publish these here or in the Gadget directory. Become an active participant in the developer community; reuse and share visualizations with others.

Create extensions to Google products: Write visualization applications for Google products such as Google Docs. With a growing list of products that support Gadgets, syndicate your app.

You can use many data sources with one API. A visualization apps created using the API are able to access any compliant data source with no required code changes to your application. Developers can start building apps immediately using Google Spreadsheets as a supported data source.

Here are a few examples of the visualizations that are created in the Google Visualization API Gadget Gallery:


Google Releases and AJAX Language API

Google added another interesting piece to its API stack. Now with the Google AJAX Language API, you can translate and detect the language of blocks of text within a webpage using only Javascript.

The language API is designed to be used to translate and detect languages on the fly when off line translations are not available.

It is a nice addition to the Google Family of API's and great for internationalization of web applications.



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Workstation Setup

I just got a new levovo Laptop. It was presetup with Windows XP.

It took me 30 minutes flat to setup completely for my needs.
  1. Installed my web development environment.
  2. Installed my database development environment.
  3. Installed Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger.
  4. Installed Firefox.
Done, everything else I do is web-based. All my email, docs, files, everything is either on Google, Amazon Web Services or some other Web Service.

Almost there in accomplishing my goal in living online.

Man I love it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

LinkedIn Offers Company Profiles

LinkedIn just announced they are offering that, "Now Companies too have profiles on LinkedIn".

I have always used LinkedIn as a business facing presence for myself. It has linkages for all my employees?

Now, you'll be able to see over 160,000 profiles of companies on LinkedIn, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to non-profit organizations as well as LinkedIn's own Company Profile page.

Company Profiles on LinkedIn is an overview of a company's industry data in combination with LinkedIn data along certain key metrics.

Seems like a logical step to me.

What can it do for a business to have a social network profile on LinkedIn?

Widgets and Social Network Applications are Temporary

I was just driving home tonight and thinking about all the widgets and OpenSocial applications I have been developing lately.

Starting thinking about the limited distribution OpenSocial Applications and the wide distribution of widgets.

I was playing with a real sweet Flash Distribution that was driven from XML. I was thinking about the different ways I could distribute it on web sites and social networks.

Of course I think about how to make some use it and adopt it.

Then I thought, is it really necessary to have some continue using an application?

Can they just add it, get some value, and send back?

If 100 people use and adopt it or 10,000 use it and lose it...what is more valuable.

Just curious.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Amazon Launches New Web Service for Fulfillment

Amazon added another layer to their stack of web services to. They added the Amazon Fulfillment Web Service (Amazon FWS) which allows merchants to tap in to Amazon’s network of fulfillment centers and logistics. Merchants can store their own products to our fulfillment centers and then, using a web service interface, fulfill orders for the products and ship a product to a customer.

There are two sets of APIS – Inbound and Outbound.

The Inbound service gives merchants the ability to create and send shipments to an Amazon fulfillment center from your vendors.

The Outbound service gives merchants the ability to ship products from Amazon FCs to their customers. This service revolves around the concept of a fulfillment order. The order contains a destination address, a shipping speed, and a list of item/quantity pairs to be shipped. The createFulfillmentOrder function is used to initiate the shipping process.

They are moving forward in basically offering a wholesale version of everything the do in-house.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Google Reader and Google Notebook as My Knowledgebase

I use Google Reader and Google Notebook on a daily basis. I read and consume feeds from 300+ blogs daily. I scan, read, visit and participate in many of the posts.

I then either tag the blog entries in my Google Reader.

Or I visit the blog and highlight some or all of the text and add to my Google Notebook.

I keep huge amounts of information in both of these.

With the combination of tagging in Google Reader and organizing in notebooks in Google Notebook and keep track of meaningful information.

Both give me a search tool to then pull this information up at anytime.

What a great database.

Liveblogging, Reminders, Tasking and Calling Myself

I have been using Jott for that last few months to record tasks, record events, publish blogs, and other general communications by calling Jott and leaving a voice mail or "jott" and it translates and sends to the link that I dictate.

I am pioneering using this for live blogging of events and sending out user generate reporters.

Today I came across Utterz which is a simlar to Jott, but adds in the pictures and videos but utilizes a larger list of links you can post to.

Utterz seems like a true live blogging tool, where Jott seems like a personal assistant and publishing tool.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Legal Rights Involved with Photography

I enjoy taking pictures of anything and everything. I am always curious about the legal rights of taking pictures of people and places.

I just read a great post called Photography and The Law: Know Your Rights which contained the The Ten Legal Commandments of Photography.

It has great information about some common misconceptions surrounding the legalities of taking pictures of people and places.

Google Adds Maps to Google Chart API

Google released a new update for the Google Chart API. It allows you to create maps with specific data areas based upon what you pass.

You can highlight states, countries and other elements and display summary or other data regarding those elements.

A nice feature added to the API. The have a lot of features hitting the pavement lately across their web applications / API.

My Social Graph and Social Index

So I have several spurts in trying to understand, track, and ultimately evolve my social graph and my social index.

For anyone not following these areas of study, here are some definitions:

Social Graph Definition: Social Graph is the network of connections that exist through which people communicate and share information.

Social Index Definition - Social Index is a measurement of the value, size and velocity of a social graph.

I have tried several ways to track my social graph and social index, and recently there has been several tools released to assist. Such as Google Social Graph API, MyBlogLog, Plaxo, FriendFeed, and Disqus.

I'm sure there are more that I am forgetting about. These tools all provide some missing link in tracking my social graph and its value. I'm still trying to pull it all together, but unfortunately it is becoming like managing my social networks, I 'm developing fatigue.

Defining my social graph fatigue! It is getting clearer than ever before, but I still need to squint to see anything even slightly clear.

More to come on this...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Adobe AIR Applications

So recently I have installed 2 Adobe Air applications. I installed twhirl a twitter client built on the Air platform, and now I just did Snippely a snippet code tool from MooTools.

I really like the install process which is very smooth and makes installing new apps so easy.

I really like the application itself too. They are very sexy, clean interfaces and lightweight. They have all the functionality of a desktop application but seem like a browser web app as well.

Interesting blend, would like to find time and play with developing Air apps myself.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Flash Mobs

Was just reading a cool post about Flash Mobs on Ignite Media. Very cool concept.

Is it social media?

Is it art?

Is it protest?

Ignite Media defines a flash mob as:
  1. You gather a group of people (through text messages, Facebook groups, emails, whatever) and ask them to come to a particular place at a particular time;
  2. You all do something for a short period;
  3. You simply disband and go about your business.

Here is the video they posted that gives a good example:


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Youtube Approach to their New API

I wrote earlier about Youtube's new API. I am really happy they updated it. It has several features that I feel are key to using their platform.

However in thinking more about it and reading other posts about it I realize their approach and openness is the real gem.

Youtube understands the basic 2.0 concept that user activity should not have to occur on your site. This is a very tough concept for some players to understand.

Key player still think that they can force or entice customers to join their social network, use their tools, and participate in activities only on their site.

Understanding that you need a quality site presence as well as a quality presence on the open Internet.

Google and Youtube gets this and made their API refelect this. You don't have to upload, search, and view videos on Youtube.

Youtube Releases New API

Youtube finally has reworked their API to allow for uploading of videos. This was a huge problem in integrating YouTube in Social Media Campaigns.

Here are some of the things you can do with the YouTube Data API now:
  • Create a web front end to let people view videos about specific topics.
  • Create a desktop application or plugin that plays videos in a customized environment.
  • Add related, dynamic video content to your website or application.
  • Customise the Flash player to fit the look and feel of your site, device or application
  • Add feeds of videos from each of YouTube's 18 international domains

The upload was the biggest addition for me. It is something that I have wanted for a while now.

However the cool new chrome JavaScript player is pretty awesome too. You can really customize and embed a new user video player experience in any site.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wordpress Installation and Hosting on the Cloud

Just got a request to install Wordpress blog for a client that will potentially receive a large amount of traffic.

So I opted to use the Mosso.com Cloud Hosting Platform by Rackspace. Took me less than 10 minutes to setup the site, install, and configure the Wordpress blog.

In my Mosso.com admin interface and added a new web site, chose to use PHP 5 as core technology and chose mysql as the database.
  • Once setup and created a MySQL database.
  • I FTP'ed the unzipped wordpress contents.
  • Updated the wp-config.php file.
  • Ran the install.
Then I was done. A scalable Wordpress installation that will handle a large volume of traffic and hosting is cheap. I could offer as low as $4.95 / month.

May just do that.

RSS Tracking and Analytics Using Feedburner

I have bee spending the week finding many types of RSS feeds for different purposes. I am building large lists of them under different topics and tracking the source of these feeds.

I am noticing about 1 in 10 feeds are using Feedburner or any type of tracking for it.

Though I am happier at the amount of quality data available via RSS it concerns me that people who have employed RSS do not understand the the value of tracking their RSS consumption and usage.

I really think there is a huge need for continued education around RSS in all age and business levels, it is really not understood by the masses.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Chris Anderson of Wired and Michael Arrington of TechCrunch

Was just watching and enjoying a show of Charlie Rose that had Chris Anderson of Wired and Michael Arrington of TechCrunch.

Chris was very informative and I'll have to watch again.

Michael Arrington was impressive. He covered tech as social issues in a way that kept me listening.

Will write more about. Good show guys.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Alltop...Guys Latest...

Was just checking out Guy Kawasaki's latest project Alltop.

The site layout instantly sucked me in.

Couldn't get past the grey bar layer at first. Actually after i got over it....it forced me to really focus on the content.....interesting approach.

The sites that are already in my sights within the categories I care about were nothing new. However the introduction to a few new categories was nice.

Fresh information....fresh approach.

Thanks.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Location Tracking Using Yahoo's New Fire Eagle

I was checking out Yahoo's new release, Fire Eagle. It is a secure and stylish way to share your location with sites and services online while giving you control over your data and privacy. Applications and users can respond to your location and help you to discover more about the world around you in real time.

It has an API allowing applications to be developed that will allow you to interact online based upon your location. This could be huge and bring the type of innovation that Google Maps gave us.

Definitely a scary thing for a lot of users, however the younger crowd will embrace.

Stowe Boyd got an early invite and has some nice screen shots of Fire Eagle.

Google Launches a Contacts Data API

I have been getting happier with the contact management tools available in Gmail...and some of the integration with other Google Applications.

I would like to see more social networking and social graph management tools, like their recent social graph api release.

Now Google has added another simple, yet powerful tool to their API arsenal. A common contact list has helped power applications like Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Calendar, and with the launch of the Google Contacts Data API, you can access this list with other external applications.

Based on AtomPub, the Contacts API can be used to read, create, edit, and delete contact information stored with Google.

Learn the details from an announcement post on the Google Data APIs blog.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Marketing Using Facebook

Was just reading Facebook Marketing Opportunities over at Digital Podcast.

I am currently playing around with several strategies for marketing our companies products on Facebook.

His statement about 8 ways to market on Facebook really stood out, and I have seen reciprocated on several other core marketing blogs:
  • Application Development
  • Group Participation
  • Paid Groups
  • Targete Ads
  • Newsfeed Advertising
  • Beacon Advertising
  • Guerrilla Individual Targeting
I am also exploring other methods for targeting around social graph marketing to specific measured social graphs for a focused but broad reach.

Why We Give More Weight to Facebook Application Development Over MySpace

I was just reading MySpace Developer Platform: Jim Benedetto, MySpace on Jeremiah Owyang's blog. He is at the Social Graph Conference in San Diego. I wish I was there.

Anyways he was posting a bunch of information about the MySpace development platform and it really shows an impressive approach on their part in reaching out to the developers community.

Their approach is much better than Facebook.

Yet we still give more priority to building Facebook apps and maintaing our presence there than we do on MySpace.

It is primarily because of the demographics. It will be interesting to see who stays ahead in the Social Networking race.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Browser Add Ons

I am pretty addicted to to Firefox Browser Add-Ons. I have many of them to the point of add-on overload.

I use them for adding items to my Google Notebook, Amazon S3, CoComment, and much more.

I syndicate and share to many social networks, social bookmarking, and other sharing sites.

I do all this through Firefox. So recently I have been using Firefox for a primary business function which requires a cookie. So I need to use Internet Explorer for my personal online view.

I pay attention to my Google Information and other stuff. All of a sudden I feel lost without my add-ons. I try to right click to add things to my Google Notebook, I try to share. NOTHING.

So I go to search the Internet Explorer Add-Ons. There really isn't much? Whats the deal?

Why is there such a movemtn behind firefox on this? I couldn't live without my browser and add-ons? Is this not ordinary?

Internet Exlporer still has like 60+ % market share. Why isn't there a browser add-on movement?

I am working on the specs for a firefox add-on specification. I worry that mainstream doesn't get it and will never adop browser toolbars and add-ons.

Browser Tools have become more important to me than desktop tools. The only desktop tools I stil use are Dreamweaver. Everything else is in my browser.

I know I am not the normal. Is this weird.

Just trying to understand why Internet Explorer with such huge market share does not have the add-on following?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crowsourcing and the Future of Project Resources

In every company I work for we deal with resource shortages all over the place, either due to budgetary constraints or lack of skilled talent in the area.

Either way many projects suffer and take a lot of time. I was reading a post from TED today on new crowdsourcing site Kluster. Its another new attempt at harnessing the power of the crowd and putting it to use to create a better solution to a problem.

It really allows you to tap a small or large group of people around a marketing idea, product launch or other viral style campaign.

I have played around with the idea of using these groups such as Pixish when it comes to Logo creation or graphic design interfaces for widgets, etc.

It is so new and a little scary, and tough to get budget approval for these sorts of things.

I will give them each a shot in the next couple of months.

White Label Social Networking for a Mobile Platform

I have been playing with Ning a lot lately and really pushing it to see its potential for a rapid social network deployment.

It is very powerful and gives you a huge amount control over setting up a social network.

Now I heard about a new white label social networking platform for mobile and handhelds. It is called iamota impact.

It allows you to:
  • Quickly and easily create and launch mobile services.
  • Add mobile "Opt-ins" to many types of media: Web, blogs, email, social networks, TV, print, billboards, bus boards, on-product, radio, POS, live events
And it gives you:
  • Single interface to power mobile marketing, messaging, social networking, location-based services, content delivery and payment
  • Handles all wireless carrier certifications, device-specific content optimizations, digital rights management, carrier and Mobile Marketing Association rules
  • Open API and custom mobile services
  • Financial clearing and settlement
  • Reporting and statistics
It looks like the start of a pretty sweet service. It is a little pricey, but as we see more competition in this space I think we'll see more FREE and low cost solutions.

Finally Got Google Sites aka. Jotspot Reborn

Google finally launched the reborn Jotspot as Google sites. It is slick and elegant and acts as I thought it would as a Google App.

It seamlessly integrates with other Google Apps.

However it seems to be only launched for Google Apps? Which is continuing the confusion about the separation between my Google Apps for My Domain and my FREE primary Google Account which I use heavily.

In addition it isn't available in my current Google Apps for my domain. I had to sign up for a new account with a domain I had laying around to get at it.

A little frustrating, but I am still excited to play with. I will be working with it and see what I can get done.

Wooohoo!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Words of Wisdom on a Successful Facebook Business Profile

I was reading a post on BernaiseSource called Putting a Face on Social Networks: Corporate Facebook Pages.

It is another chapter in the ongoing discussion of whether to build your own social network or participate in existing social networks where your users already exist.

This post focuses primarily on deploying of a business social network profile on Facebook. There are 3 company success stories I found interesting and sum of potentially successful strategies.

Blockbuster - Karen Raskopf, senior vice president of corporate communications at Blockbuster, wrote:

We view this alliance with Facebook as an innovative way to cultivate relationships with millions of Facebook users by enabling them to interact with Blockbuster in convenient, relevant and entertaining ways. This is beyond advertising. This is about Blockbuster participating in the community of the consumer so that, in return, consumers feel motivated to share the benefits of our brand with their friends.

As one of the most-trafficked websites in the United States, we believe this alliance gives us a valuable opportunity to engage in an on-going dialogue with a tech-savvy audience, increase our brand relevance, form long-lasting consumer relationships, establish digital relationships with millions of media entertainment fans, and importantly grow our membership base, both in-store and online.

Verizon Wireless - Brenda.Raney a Verizon Wireless spokesperson wrote:

The decision to create a corporate presence on Facebook was driven primarily because our customers were using Facebook. It is important for us to talk to our customers where they work and play so Facebook is one more avenue to reach our customers. One of our strategic goals is to create more interactivity for Verizon Wireless customers who are also Facebook users.

Currently, Verizon’s Facebook page has two applications: Text to friends is the primary one. A recent one allows customers to go to the Verizon Wireless profile page, download a Keith Urban video and send it to friends. Friends who want the song, can hold their Verizon Wireless phones up to the computer and use SongID on their Verizon Wireless phones to purchase the song directly on their phones.

Sprite - Petro Kacur, senior manager, marketing communications at Coca-Cola describe:

Sprite has successfully used Facebook to reach its 18-24 year old target demographic that also happens to be the sweet spot for Facebook users.

"We're always looking for innovative ways to reach core Sprite drinkers that are relevant to them. Our Facebook app allows them to stay active online and remain connected with friends. Launched last November, Sprite’s Facebook Sips application has a natural viral component. Users can create a character and interact with friends.

It’s a natural fit for socializing. It inspires interaction and is also tied to product purchase decisions. Under each 20 oz Sprite cap is a code for a specialized feature that can be added to enhance a user's Sips character. Sprite has some experience with social networking. Its Facebook page is part of an evolution that includes MySpace, Second Life and mobile applications that let users stay connected via mobile phones.

It’s still too early to determine if Sprite’s Facebook foray is a success.

“We are still testing, learning, and seeing what catches on, what doesn’t, and how they are using our Facebook app. What’s important is to determine if the Sips application remains relevant by giving users a reason to go online and stay engaged. It can’t just be trendy. We can’t force a fit. It must fit in what we know about the target user and be true to the Sprite brand.”

Some great insight on how to focus your approach to deploying a presence on existing social networks. My personal stance is to focus heavily on where your users exist and are engaged in their conversation currently, while also developing and maintaining your own site and / or social network if applies.

A Social Media Case Study at Lego

Was just watching a great video on Jeremiah Owyang's blog about a Social Media Case Study from Jake McKee who used to work at Lego.

It was very interesting to see how entrenched and distance from customers a company can be. Also how resistant to change a company can be when it comes to opening up to new ideas, change and ultimately their customers.

Of course Lego is a very large company and has a unique product line, but it really shows an interested way of embracing the smaller more passionate segment of your audience and leveraging them to reach the larger portion of our customer base.

Give it a watch, it is called: The Tenacity of Jake McKee: A Social Media Case Study at Lego.

Find a Voice for Blog by Catablogging

Was readng a post on CopyBlogger about Catablogging. What is catablogging you ask? Do we really need new terminology for the way you blog?

A catablog is basically a blog that is designed to mix content and commerce in a very deliberate fashion. It’s looking to attract people who are interested in buying things, but who are also interested in immersing themselves in the lifestyle surrounding the products.

I thought the blog post described an interesting way of quickly developing a voice for your blog. I think that is a big problem for most bloggers to gain traction. I know I have.

Catablogging essentially allows you to piggyback on an existing brand or product line and evolve your voice around that.

This isn't necessarily somethinI am interested in doing, but I could see the value in making money by doing this. Really getting to know a product, line of products and the customer / fan base around that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Communication and Professionalism

I am reviewing about 8 resumes that were submitted for a social media marketing consultant. I made sure that when the resumes came in I responded to each letting them know I received and were reviewing.

Once I reviewed them all and was in the process of presenting them to the client I emailed each one personally and let them know where I was in the process.

One of the applicants emailed me saying how he appreciated the communication.

Made me think some more about this. I have experienced that a lot. In my last job search I submitted probably 150 resumes and received responses from about 20.....and interviews for about 15.

Most you never hear from. It isn't hard to drop them all into an email folder and export the email list and run a mail merge or god forbid actually personally respond.

So just wanted to share those thoughts. I am not always the best at communicating, I am the first to admit. However we can all try to be better at it.

Might come back to us at the right moment.

Bebo Social Networking for Social Media Marketing

Been doing some work on various Bebo Social Network Profiles as part of a social media marketing campaign. Since I am spending some time here I thought I would share some thoughts and strategy.

First off Bebo is a very European focused social network. There are a lot of US users, but definitely heavy on the European market.

I got setup and have my profile all filled out from my social media profile content platform. Wish I had some data portability tools!

Put in a nice picture of myself or my logo, then I went ahead and started a couple of photo albums, and picked the best pictures I have for the first albums.

I don't have any video so I didn't do anything there yet.

I emailed a handful of friends, coworkers, and business contacts I had to make them mad about joining another social network.

I looked through the applications directory to see if there were any relevant applications I could add. Bebo had some nice Widget hooks which I will play with later.

They have a whiteboard feature which is unique. You don't see this many places, it is kind of like the wall...but you can draw. I just posted one myself.

I went to my central company blog on this topic and found a couple of the latest blog posts and and made links to the articles.

Next I went ahead and did a search on a couple of keywords that are relevant to what I am doing. Several groups came up and I went ahead and either became a Fan or a Member. Which gives me some eyeballs on their profile and starts some potential relationships.

That was all I did. I am going to write-up a formal strategy for business social networking strategy using Bebo as marketing of your social media strategy.

Then I will work on a social media maintenance strategy for your Bebo social networking account.

Podcasting Using Your Phone

I was just playing with Cinch which is a new voice to RSS service. It allows you to call a number and it records a podcast for you. It is more focused, but similar to the voice translation service Jott that I have been using.

It gives you an RSS feed of the calls you make which you can easily blend into a Feedburner tracking RSS feed.

There is no limit to the recording unlike Jott, but of course it doesn't translate your calls.

Another valuable audio and podcasting web 2.0 service.

Google Talk Chatback Website Widget

I was just playing with the new Google Talk Chatback Widget. It allows you to allow anonymous chats from your web page for your customers and site visitors.

I was just researching using this last week for a client who was asking for it and didn't much care for the Boldchat they were using.

It is a great FREE or low cost web site chat and support module. Just yet another innovative use for the Google Platform. I use the Google services for so much these days.

I went ahead and added to my web site, since I leave my Gmail open all day and live in my Google Desktop it was a natural fit to have on my blog.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Custom Amazon EC2 Research and Development

We are now offering custom Amazon EC2 Research and Development services. If you are in need of custom EC2 instance deployment, feel free to contact us.

Timothy Meredith and I will be pioneering several custom deployments for clients and figured we'd offer these services to all other interested parties.

Pretty much any type of EC2 deployment on the Linux platform is where we are focused. Some examples are:
  • Web Server
  • Database Server
  • Email Server
  • SPAM Filter
  • LDAP Server
  • Video Server
  • Image Server
  • Utility Processing (Image resizing, video manipulation, etc.)
We will be posting specific packages and installations as they become available. Feel free to email kinlane@gmail.com if you have a specific instance configuration in mind that you need.

Amazon EC2 Custom Deployment

Had a meetup with a fellow developer friend of mine. He has been programming for years, but in the last 3-4 years become a real linux distribution and deployment expert. He works primarily on developing very specialized linux installs for specific purposes such as mail server, spam filtering, specialized web applications, and very focused utility solutions.

We are going to be working together to offer extremely specialized linux EC2 installations.

I have really got excited over the various possiblities for EC2 deployments for speciality need such as scalable Facebook applications, gaming server environments, utility processing, LDAP, data warehousing and much more.

So look for more to come on what is possible on the EC2 platform.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Olympic Committee Rules Out Social Media

Was just reading a post on ReadWriteWeb about Olympic Committe Rules Revealed: No Posting of Media Allowed.

They say they are embracing blogging because it is a form of personal expression and not a form of journalism.

However they are prohibiting the usage of pictures, sound or moving images in any blog or other method.

It is amazing that there are still major groups that do not understand the value of social media and want to control and license everything that happens.

I am working in social media more and more in the outdoor space with Altrec.com and GreatOutdoors.com and I am realizing the huge value of social media to sporting and outdoor events.

It is sad to see the Olympic committee feel this way.

Pay Per Action and Involvement

Starting to see some ad networks and ad models moving beyond traditional views or clicks. Videoegg launched a new pay per engagement video model.

Advertisers pay only on an "engagement" basis or when a user rolls over the ad and the advertisers full screen is displayed.

It is a first for this type of true engagement model and really focuses your advertising.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ping Service for your Blog

Part of your syndication strategy for your blog should be alerting blog search engines that you have made an update.

I found a service today called Ping-O-Matic that you can put in your blog name, home page, and rss URL and choose which services to ping that your blog has been updated.

This is a great tool to get the word out there regarding your blog.

Duplicate Content Problem with Search Engines

Every time I discuss syndicated content to other sites and platforms I get the question, well what about getting in trouble for duplicate content?

This is a topic that has been over-hyped and discussed way to much. It is true if you just programatically build out multiple sites all with the same or similar content you will get dinged for this.

The problem people have is they are too focused on what search engines are thinking and forgot about their #2 users..."HUMANS".

You need to be found in search engines so that HUMANS can find you, but you also need to identify that people find information in other ways too. They use RSS Feeds, Social Networks, Home Page Sites, News Sites, Blog Aggregators, and much much more.

So when getting worried about duplicate content just ask yourself, "Am I maliciously replicating this content just to get more keyword value"? If you aren't and you genuinely are syndicated the content for real consumption, don't worry so much.

Search engines are smart, they can tell what is real content and usually can tell what the source is.

Use Flickr for Online and Social Media Marketing


I have historically played around with many online marketing and social media marketing techniques. I play around from time to time to see what works and what doesn't.

Last year I was walking around with my daughter and taking pictures for our Eugene Local Search web site. I am trying to have pictures of local attractions and business around Eugene, Oregon.

I took this picture of the Eugene Federal Courthouse. I then told a little story about it and happen to include a link Eugene Web Design Services which links to our web development company.

So it took a relevant geographical picture, some text, then linked with relevant keywords to our web site.

I have noticed I still get a some click through on this link as well as some search engine optimization value.

It is a nice example of using Flickr as part of your online marketing and social media marketing strategy.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Whiteboard 2.0

I like using whiteboards to sketch out ideas. I love drawing elaborate graphs and visuals to try and convey my point.

I usually take pictures of my drawings so I have a digital copy, and I have even played with a few smartboards that record my drawings.

I came across a web 2.0 whiteboard created by GE today called Imagination Cubed. It is pretty cool.

Just a well done simple application. You can draw your thoughts and play it back and email it to people as well.

Give it a try.

A Little Closer to a Single Social Interface

A new startup called PageOnce makes an attempt to create a single social interface. This doesn't appear to be too much different than Netvibes or Pageflakes. However since it is in private BETA I can't really take it for a test drive.

Definitely a common problem for social networking and other web application fatigue when you have to go to each site and maintain.

I try to keep up on all my applications and networks, however fall way short when I just get tired of doing it.

We'll see if PageOnce can achieve my single social interface.

Amazon Web Services Experienced an Outage

Amazon Web Services experienced an outage this morning across all their systems. There is a flurry of posts on this forum about the Amazon Web Services Outage.

This is the first actual outage I have seen or heard of on the Amazon Web Services Platform. Definitely a black eye for Amazon Web Services and building credibility with the community to use them as the core of their networks.

Gives some fuel to the argument that no matter what infrastructure you use that you should have a Plan B.

There were some really scared and frustrated people out there questioning their business models.

I really hope Amazon can recover from this, I really have been pushing AWS and evangelizing with various clients.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Flickr Getting More Social

I haven't spent much time on Flickr until recently. I have had an account for years, but only upload every once in a while.

Tonight when I logged on to check out the mobile features I notice they are getting more social. It asked me to complete my profile and upload a profile picture and tell a little more about myself.

Didn't fill out much about myself, really get tired of putting information about myself. Need a tool to do it automatically.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Web 2.0 Apps Done Right

I have blogged several times about web 2.0 applications and what I look for in them. I have been evaluating a lot of applications lately and a good application really stands out.

I have been looking through Image and Photo sharing applications all day and comparing them against each other. Man there is a lot of crap.

One appliceation that I think truly reflects a quality Web 2.0 applications is the image sharing site 23. The have the key characteristics:
  • Do one thing and do it well.
  • They have an API.
  • Simple, intuitive interface.
  • Have a blog
  • Have an about us page.
  • Simple Search
  • Simple Navigation
  • Quick loading
They do it well, congrats guys.

Applications Today Without an API

I am doing a lot of research right now on quality web 2.0 applications for specific purposes. It really is frustrating when I find the perfect aplication with all the features we are looking for except for one. An API.

Why the hell do you go an build a really sweet application with killer features and you don't add an API.

It just seems like it goes against all logic these days to release a partial or no API at all.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Firefox Add-On Overcrowding

I use quite a few different Firefox Add-Ons. I use Amazon S3 Firefox Organizer, EC2 UI, Google Notebook, coCommnet, Shareaholic, just to name a few.

My right click, tray and toolbar is just getting very crowded.

It would be nice if someone logically built out a framework for these to display. I hope with Firefox 3.0 coming out they find a solution.

It would be nice if I could manage what showed up where.

Amazon Launchs new S3 Analysis Tool

Amazon just launched a new analysis tool for Amazon S3 called, S3Stat. This tool uses the log files generated by S3, analyzes them using Webalizer, and generates a variety of reports.

Take a look at the sample reports to learn more.

There's a one-month free trial and usage after that costs just $2 per month. Take a look at the pricing plan to learn more. While you are on the site you may want to take a look at their list of S3 resources as well.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Chance at a Personal Introduction Using Question and Answer Sites

I have been really getting into answering questions on LinkedIn's answers section. I have the technology areas on my RSS feed so when they come in. I find I learn a lot from some of the questions posed. Not just answering questions for people.

I have also have really made a lot of connections doing this. I was just thinking about what a wonderful opportunity it is to make one on one connections with people and make a good first impression by helping them solve a problem.

Map of the Undersea Internet World

I came across this picture of the undersea cables running around the world. I thought it was real interesting to see how our Internet flows around the world.

I recently read an article about how some rock slides here on the Oregon coast had caused an Internet outage in Australia. Knowing where these fiber lines run really helps you understand the fragility of our Internet community

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Case Western Reserve University to Debut Usage of 2D codes on campus

I was turned to an article about usage of QR Codes on Campus over at 2d-code.co.uk.

Beginning February 1st 2008, students, faculty and staff at Case Western Reserve's Cleveland, Ohio, campus will be participating in the nation's first trial of "2D codes"—commonly referred to as "QR Codes"—by bringing the cell phone technology to campus.

The 2D codes, first introduced on campus during fall orientation will be used as a link to mobile content in the form of pictures, music, videos, news articles and other interactive media.

For companies, the codes present an avenue for extending the value of their product packaging. For students, the codes are a way to deliver information and entertainment to friends. For professors, they allow a new level of interactivity for engaging the Facebook generation.

All faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the university who have a case.edu e-mail address can enroll in the pilot beginning February 1st at http://www.mobilediscovery.com.

From this Web site, members of the university community will be able to download to a cell phone the software needed to read the codes, create their own 2D codes and connect the codes to content—for free. Some wireless carriers may charge users for each code read and content downloaded to the phone.

Sometimes I get the feeling the educational institutions are behind the game when it comes to technology, it is nice to see some taking risks and leading.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

From Ignite - How Will a Social Media Agency Work With My Current Agency?

Just read a great post over at Ignite Social Media about How Will a Social Media Agency Work With My Current Agency?

It has some great suggestions on ways a social media consultant can provide services for your social media marketing campaign:
  • Consultant
  • Trainer
  • Executor
Give it a read, it can help you figure out the best level to engage a social media consultant on.

Google's New Social Graph API

Google just release a social graph API out into the wild.

Google crawls the Web to find publicly declared relationships between people's accounts, just like Google crawls the Web for links between pages. But instead of returning links to HTML documents, the API returns JSON data structures representing the social relationships that were discovered from all the XFN and FOAF.

XF stands for XHTML Friends Network which is a simple way to represent human relationships using hyperlinks by utilizing a simple rel="" property for the hyperlink.

FOAF stands for The Friend of a Friend project and is creating a Web of machine-readable pages describing people, the links between them and the things they create and do.

This is definitely a great approach for Google to take to continue bringing the web together. I see a big problem with their not being enough defined content out there on the Internet for this to be useful quite yet. It appears people like Plaxo are working to solve this with their Plaxo Pulse.

Hopefully this is the beginning of Google integrating more social network relationship controls into their gmail contacts, docs and user controls.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A Wearable Camcorder and Community Site for Publishing

Vholdr_cameraCheck this cool camera out. Itis a company of action sports enthusiasts and media professionals

It is perfect for the person who wants to document their active life.

Supposively the quality is pretty good. The camera can record 2 full hours of video on an embedded MicroSD card. There's also a microphone built-in.

Once the recording is complete, it can be uploaded to the VholdR site, tagged, labeled, and then shared.

What is also very cool is the application uses several Amazon Web Services behind the scenes. All of the videos are stored in Amazon S3, and the entire EC2-powered uploading, transcoding, and post-processing system is driven by data stored in a couple of Amazon SQS instances.

I'm going to have to test run one of these.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Moving to the Next Challenge and Shifting From Web Programming

I waiting a while before I started blogging about this topic until everything was in place. It seems all the pieces have fallen in place so I am going to start on this new path.

Tomorrow 2/1/2008 is my last day a lead web application developer at Palo Alto Software. I gave notice 2 weeks ago and on 2/6/2008 I will be started a new job with Altrec in Redmond, Oregon.

I am shifting my career a little after almost 20 years as a programmer. The first ten years was primarily database programming with the last ten years building web applications.

Now I am changing course a little bit, I won't ever stop programming, I am shifting into more of a Social Media Architect. I am taking my knowledge of data and API's, coupled with web application development and most recently AJAX development, and marrying it together with a passion for social media.

All that equals Social Media Architect.

I am excited about working with Altrec and assisting them with their social media, API, and other technical needs for the future. I haven't started yet so I really don't know exactly what will happen.

Anyways I just wanted to draw the line in the sand on the blog here.

I will miss working with all my friends at Palo Alto Software, it has been a great couple of years.

Defining My Social Media Index and Settings Some Benchmarks

I was reading, Quantifying the Impact of Social Media: Where the Edelman White Paper Got it Right, Got it Wrong and What We Should Do Next, by Jim Tobin today.

I have been reading all the same white papers and following all the same discussion of Quantifying the Impact of a Social Media Campaign as well as experiencing it real time with social media campaigns I am part of.

As a social media consultant you need to be able to convince your clients that you'll deliver, and you need some way to measure success and failure.

Also establishing the influence of individuals and groups is a huge part of deciding where to spend resources during a social media campaign.

I like Jim's approach to the discussion. He picks apart several prominent opinions on the subject, but doesn't leave it there. He provides solutions, one of which that really caught my attention:

To move the social media index forward, we’ll need a system that serves as the white pages of social media with RSS.

So I thought about my situation and how I would like to define my social media index and what my reach is.

As a social media professional I prefer my presence be high profile and this part of my online activity I am not concerned with privacy.

So I am going to start tracking my social media index and recording all my activities on the net and record this analyzing.

So I started up a simple study today using Google Docs as the tracking mechanism. You can check it out more at: QISM. I look forward to any involvement and comments from you folks.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Marketing through Reputation Management

I monitor my reputation basically on a daily basis as part of my routine. I Google myself and see how things are stacked and if there is anything new.

I have a pretty unique name so I pretty much dominate all the listings.

Today a new profile site showed up on my first page called Disqus. Just pretty much a social network profile and it aggregates comments from me around the Internet.

Will evaluate the tool more later.

Not sure if it was a conscious effort on their part or it just happened, but it occurred to me that you could target prominent Internet users in this way, but publishing a page or starter profile for them and show up in their rankings and spike their interest a little more. Enough to maybe get them to signup?

This page on Disqus had a big "Claim this Profile" button that lured me in, I am a sucker for social networks and big sign me up buttons.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Facebook Platform Application Development Fatigue

ReadWriteWeb is posing the question Have Facebook Apps Peaked?

The hype is gone and what is left? Not to many useful tools that we can use.

Next we should see a bunch of truly usable business applications that we can use in our everday life. I would like to to see some truly Web 2.0 IT applications that I can utilize for projects and conducting business on a daily basis.

Hopefully now that the Facebook bubble has burst and they seem to be opening up to integration and data portability, we can get real and create some truly useful Facebook applications.

Google Checkout has a New Order Report API

Nice example of how Web Application Development should occur.

Gmail Greasemonkey API issue and Social Programming

I really like Google approach to extending their applications beyond their core features and encouraging research and development by the masses.

I was just reading a post on the Official Gmail Blog: Gmail Greasemonkey API issue. They outline how they have updated Gmail Javascript to load in an iframe.

They talk about how this change may create some side effects in how some scripts work.

They fully embrace the fact that Greasemonkey is a widely adopted method of extending applications, including most of the core Google Platform Applications.

I just am really impressed how they allow and even work with the masses of hackers and coders out there, who are wanting to get the most out of applications they use.

This type of open research and development and social programming is great, and I feel it is one of the reasons why Google continues to stay at #1.

New Flash Widget Builder from Sprout Builder

I was just playing around with the new widget builder from Sprout Builder, I found it over on Techcrunch - Sprout: The Online WYSIWYG Editor for Flash.

It is a damn sexy flash tool for building widgets. It is to do and obviously targeting the non programmer wishing to deploy and syndicate their content and brand.

It is a nice drag and drop interface and you can create, deploy, and track all the widgets you deploy.

These tools are really going to come into play in 2008 when the average business starts integrating widget syndication into their social media marketing strategies.

I am going to build a couple of them tonight and see what I can create.

I will post some more once I get one deployed.