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11 posts from November 2010

My Report into the FIR podcast - November 29, 2010

Sent in my regular weekly 5-minute report this morning for today's "For Immediate Release" podcast episode. In today's report I discussed:

The episode will be available for your listening pleasure from the FIR web site later today.

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At What Point Do We Just Stop Caring About IE6 Visitors?

Tasmania: Junked Out Old Car

Flickr credit: elisfanclub

As I've been working more with CSS3 and HTML5 (and starting to write about it), a common theme I've found in CSS books, websites and other material is this:
"... and then you have to do this to make it look right in Internet Explorer 6..."

... and then you do this for IE6... and then you do that... and then you add this kludgey hack... and then you add that kludgey hack... and then you click your heels three times while sacrificing a goat on the eve of a full moon in order to get your 2010 web page to look good in a browser that came out in 2001!


How much time, energy and other resources are we going to continue to waste?

At what point do we in the communication business just stop caring about IE6 users?

Yes, yes, I know that the "proper" answer is that "it depends" and you need to look at the visitors coming to your website. And yes, I can see from those stats that one of the sites I work with actually has about 7% of its visitors using IE6.

But seriously, folks... are we going to continue to design for the lowest common denominator simply because either organizational inertia or organizational incompetence is keeping people using a ~10-year-old browser???

I mean... upgrading to a newer version of IE is FREE! There aren't any of the cost issues associated with, say, Office. (And yes, I recognize that some of those companies still using IE6 are probably also still using Office 97!)

Yes, I realize that some internal apps or sites may break... but come on, how long has it been? And think of how many security issues you would address simply by moving away from IE6!


I know my vote... I'm in the process of redesigning some sites and I am NOT going to care about IE6 visitors. Now, maybe I have that luxury because the sites involved are around "emerging technology" and if you are interested in that topic it's pretty certain you are NOT using IE6 (and the stats show that)... but I'm also considering taking that option for some other sites, too.


P.S. Hey, Facebook stopped supporting IE6 back in August... can we get other large sites to do that, too?

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How Do You Scale Your Corporate Usage of Twitter? (Free Webinar Nov 30th)

If you start using Twitter or Facebook for interacting with customers and are successful - how do you scale that interaction as you grow?

As I mentioned in my report into today's FIR podcast, I'll be presenting in a free webinar on this topic coming up on Tuesday, November 30th, as part of Voxeo's monthly "Developer Jam Session" webinars. I'll be talking about some of the tools and services we offer that can help. If you would like to attend live and ask questions, the registration info is below or on the Jam Session page. If you can't attend the actual presentation, the webinar will be available for later viewing. Here's the abstract of what I'll be talking about:


Serving the Social Customer: Scaling Your Support for Twitter, Facebook and more

Tuesday, November 30, 2010: 8:00 AM US Pacific, 11:00 AM US Eastern, 5:00 PM Central European


By 2014, Gartner Research estimates that social networking services will replace email as the primary communications vehicle for 20 percent of business users – and for many people this is already the case. As you connect to customers in social channels, a key question is – how can you scale that communication? If you have only a few people monitoring Twitter, what do you do when they go home? As you successfully interact with people on Twitter, how do you handle the growth?

Do you hire a whole new group of people to “tweet”? Or do you look at how appropriate forms of automation can help you scale your interaction?

Join Voxeo’s Director of Conversations, Dan York, in this free Developer Jam Session to explore how Voxeo’s tools and platforms can help you scale your usage of social channels. You will learn how to monitor twitter account and take action on incoming messages or mentions. You will see how to send urgent notifications via SMS or voice based on certain keywords that appear in tweets. You will learn how you can craft appropriate automatic responses based on what customers send via Twitter. You’ll see how an automated app can assist the person monitoring a Twitter account in collecting information to provide a response. And… you will see how all the social interaction can be tied into the same analytics and application you use for other interaction channels like voice, SMS, IM, and mobile web. Plus you will get a view of how these services can be extended to other social services like facebook.

Please do join us! It should be a fun session!

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CSS3 Generator - A Great Way to Quickly Get CSS3 Code

If you are, like me, experimenting more with Cascading Style Sheets version 3 (a.k.a. "CSS3"), you may find this site very helpful - CSS3 Generator:

CSS3 Generator

From the drop-down menu you choose one of the CSS3 elements for which you would like the code. Enter in some values ... see the preview change... and watch the CSS3 code be created:


Now, I found a few quirks with the site. In Google Chrome the preview didn't always work while in Firefox it did. The Shadow Color field on this particular "Box Shadow" element also never actually put the color into the code (It would be the final value for each of the "box-shadow" lines.)

Regardless of those quirks, it's a neat tool to help you see how you can use CSS3 to introduce new design elements for browsers that support CSS3. Check it out!

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Apple: Masters of the Tease...

Connect to the iTunes Music Store this morning... and what do I see?


Never shy about pumping up expectations, are they? ;-)

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Creating "Tweetable Moments": Public Speaking In the Age of Twitter

Dan York

Flickr credit: Duncan Davidson

When you are preparing to give a presentation at a conference or other event, do you think about how your message will appear on Twitter?

In writing a comment the other day to Mitch Joel's great post, "9 Ways To Elevate Your Speaking To Black Belt Level", one of my points was that you need to think of "tweetable moments".

The reality is that we live in the age of Twitter and for those of us who speak publicly, we have to pretty much assume that there will be those in the audience who are "live tweeting" out whatever we are saying. This is obviously particularly true for "social media"-related conferences, but I'd say it's true for most all the events I've been to recently.

So as a speaker, the question is:

If you were to look at the Twitter stream AFTER your talk,
what would you want it to say?

Are there particular catchy phrases you can work into your speaking that tie into your message and would be easy for someone to type into Twitter? Are there particularly dramatic stats that you can provide? (And not only speak but perhaps emphasize through a well-done slide?)

Dan York, Director of Emerging Technologies, Voxeo

Flickr credit: adunne

I remember a very clear direct experience with this concept back in June 2009 at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. I was on a keynote panel, "The Future of Social Messaging in the Enterprise", with among others, Marcia Connor (a.k.a. @marciamarcia). We all said our various pieces during our conversation, but Marcia had some clear, concise zingers that, sure enough, were the major items that were tweeted and retweeted.

Ever since then, thinking of "tweetable moments" has been something I've given thought to in advance of every presentation. Naturally it doesn't always work... we can only hope that people will pass along our message... but it's definitely been something I've thought about.

For those of us who have been around for a while, we always used to think in terms of the "sound bite"... what's the one memorable phrase or part of an interview or news conference (remember them?) that would get picked up for radio or TV? (remember them?) You crafted your patter in part so that there would be those moments in your talking that you would hope would be the ones to be picked up and played. Now it's the same thing... only we're talking about "Twitter bites". It needs to be WAY under 140 characters... and something someone can type really fast since they are live-tweeting out your talk.

What about you? Have you given thought to how your message will appear in Twitter? What do you do to prepare?

P.S. If you are seeking a speaker on a topic related to social media, communications/PR, the "cloud", the open Internet, telecommunications or other topics, I'm always interested in presenting to new audiences. Give me a shout!

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For all you love fonts, check out what's coming in Firefox 4...

Wood Type

Flickr credit: lwr

If you, like me, enjoy good use of typography, check out the support for control of OpenType font features via CSS coming in Firefox 4:

These are some of the minor nuances in typography... but they can add up to make a site or document just look that much better! I'm looking forward to trying them out once FF4 becomes available..

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How To Get Notified via SMS When Someone Mentions You - And a Keyword - On Twitter

twitterlogo-shadow.jpgWould you like to receive a notification when you are mentioned on Twitter? Or more importantly, would you like to receive a notification when someone mentions your Twitter ID (or your company's ID) and uses a keyword like "fail"?

Over on the Tropo blog, my colleague Chris Matthieu wrote up how you could do this in literally one line of the Ruby programming language. You need a free Tropo account, naturally, and you need a Twitter account you want to monitor. Chris shows the steps you need to go through to set up an application and connect it to a Twitter account.

While it's cool to be able to get text messages of mentions (something Twitter doesn't support directly), what I personally think is more interesting is the ability to send a message when certain keywords are found in a tweet. For instance, what if someone started tweeting:

Just had a major #FAIL with @company services.

Wouldn't you like to know when that happens right away? Easy to do if you are sitting there with Tweetdeck open (or some other client)... but not so easy if it is some time when you are away from Twitter.

Chris shows you could do this easily in Ruby:

if $currentCall.initialText.index("fail")
     (autorespond or send sms or place call etc.)

Putting that together with his first example of sending a SMS, your code could look like this:

if $currentCall.initialText.index("fail")
     message "Mention: " + $currentCall.initialText, {
     :to => "tel:+14805551212",
     :network => "SMS"}

That's it!

For more info, check out Chris' post and then sign up for a free Tropo account to try it out yourself. Sending and receiving SMS messages, Twitter messages and phone calls are all free for folks developing apps on Tropo.

Full Disclosure: Yes, this post talks about a service (Tropo) ultimately from my employer, Voxeo. I do write about such services from time to time. :-)

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What is the career path for a corporate "Social Strategist"? Success? or Help Desk?

Today Jeremiah Owyang and the gang at the Altimeter Group released an interesting research report into The Two Career Paths of the Corporate Social Strategist. Actually, it really is the ONE career path as I doubt very many people want to be relegated to the "social media help desk"!

Good stats and thoughtful recommendations... definitely worth a read if "social media strategy" is even part of your job role! I know I've marked up a few items here and listed some actions for me to take...

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Nettuts+ Video Tutorial: Getting Clever with CSS3 Shadows

Lately I've been doing a great amount of experimentation and testing with CSS - and seeking to understand more of the goodness that comes with CSS3 as more and more browsers support both HTML5 and CSS3. In that experimentation, I came across this great video from Nettuts+ about how to create shadows with CSS3. I thought it was quite cool and recommend it for anyone else playing around with CSS3:

Now... if only all the browsers out there would fully support CSS3!

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