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February 2011
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April 2011

18 posts from March 2011

The Automattic WorldWide WP 5K: Are You Going To Run It on April 10th?

Given that to my great amusement I am now a runner[1], I love the idea that Automattic had for a WorldWide WordPress 5K. As they say in the post:

We had a great idea: Get all 80 Automatticians from 62 cities to run/walk a 5k on the same day! This way we can get some exercise together as a company even though we’re apart (though we won’t rule out a softball or Texas scramble at our next meetup).

We want to invite you to join us, users (and self-hosted WP users, too!), in the Worldwide WP 5k – the 5k blogged around the world! The date is approaching, so read on to find out how to participate.

And so they are encouraging people to run (or walk or skip or roll) on Sunday, April 10, 2011... or anytime in the week prior to that. And, of course, blog about it or otherwise tell the world about it.

Naturally, I'm in. :-)

Of course, since I just ran a 5K loop around Keene, NH, this morning the distance will no longer be a challenge for me... I'll just make sure that that Sunday is one of my "run" days. (I run every other day.)

[1] And if I can now be a "runner", I think pretty much any of you can be one, too... as my post says, I didn't set out to become one, and never pictured myself as one... it was just the natural evolution of deciding to start exercising every day originally in the form of walking... Gets SocialCRM In A Big Way - Buys Radian6 for $326 Million

Salesforceradian6The news rocking the Twittersphere and PR/marketing side of the online world today is that is acquiring social media monitoring company Radian6 for $326 million USD ($276 million cash and $50 million stock). SFDC issued the standard overly formal news release which has the gory details for those whose eyes are still open. Radian6, on the other hand, has a nice friendly blog post up

The coverage is predictably everywhere... and climbing up Techmeme right now. Some stories:

For my part, I'm intrigued to see how they will further integrate Radian6's extensive social media monitoring into's already powerful CRM environment. Some hints are in the news release:

  • Sales and Service Cloud: Social media monitoring and engagement has emerged as the requirement for any brand and customer engagement strategy, helping companies join conversations about their brands and stay connected to their customers and prospects. By combining Radian6’s social media monitoring and engagement platform with Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, companies will be able to keep customer success at the center of their business with real-time social intelligence.

  • Salesforce Chatter: Radian6 and will create the bridge between public social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and online communities, and Salesforce Chatter, the private, secure social network for the enterprise. Chatter feeds will no longer just contain the activity happening within the walls of a company, but will be filled with real time insights from fans on Facebook pages, followers on Twitter, comments on blog posts and more.

  • Platform: Developers will be able to build apps that tap into the power of Radian6, putting the social web into everything they build. In such a dynamic market, this acquisition will present a huge opportunity for to extend its developer and partner ecosystem with technology not available anywhere else.

Done well, it could truly provide a powerful means for building "Social CRM" applications. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next!

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Facebook FAIL: Refusal to Authorize Me As Admin of the Voxeo "Community Page"

facebook.jpgRemember back in December when we were talking about how to "claim" a "Community Page" on Facebook? And then in January when it appeared Facebook was reneging on our ability to claim community pages?

Despite all that, I was proceeding on good faith, assuming that at some point someone in Facebook might see the request I file back in December and act on it.

Someone eventually did.

They DENIED my request.

And in typical Facebook style, there was no word of an appeal and instead a pointer to a useless FAQ page that had no info that I could find about community pages.

Here's the email I received today:


As text:

Unfortunately, after further review, you did not meet the requirements to take over the Page in question. At this time we will not be able to provide you admin rights to this Page. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

For more information about this feature, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, please visit Facebook's Help Center by clicking the link below:

Follow that link, please, and see if you can find mention of "Community Pages" anywhere? I couldn't... but maybe I was just too tired. Can you find a mention? (In the links on that page... not by going into the search box.)

Backing Up For Some Context

To review the issue here, which I covered in my December post, Facebook for some reason rolled out "community pages" back in April 2010 and created a "community page" for companies and brands, even those that already had invested time and resources in creating their own Facebook page.

The impact of this is that on places like my own Facebook profile page the link to my employer, Voxeo, does NOT go to the page that Voxeo has create at:

but instead to the "community page" that Facebook created at:

Which is simply an import of the Wikipedia page for Voxeo. That's it. (And there's no way to edit a community page.)

Now obviously in an ideal world, as one of the people responsible for Voxeo's online presence, and specifically the one doing most all the admin for Voxeo's Facebook Page, I'd like to either merge the pages together or replace the community page with our page.

At the very least I'd like to update the community page with a link over to the Facebook page that we maintain.

So when the opportunity appeared back in December to "claim" a community page, I naturally went ahead and submitted a request.

Not Authorized?

Fast forward to today... almost four months have gone by without a peep out of Facebook... and it's with a denial. I "did not meet the requirements to take over the Page in question".

So please, dear Facebook, kindly explain to us...

What precisely ARE the requirements to take over a Community Page?

Is the requirement to take over a company page that you NOT be affiliated with the company?

That's about the only reason I can come up with for why you wouldn't authorize my request.

Because, Facebook, if you do allow a company representative to claim a "community page" in the name of the company, well, let me count the ways I'm authorized on Voxeo's behalf:

I could go on... but you get the point. I'm not the CEO (or any CxO), but from a brand management point-of-view, that's what I am employed to do for the company.

If *I* don't meet the requirements to take over a community page for a company, who does?

(And if the point is that Facebook wants someone "neutral", fine... I can understand that (even if I don't agree)... just tell us!)

Back To The Original Issue...

The larger issue here, though, comes back to simply this:


On my Facebook profile, I cannot control the fact that the link on the name of my employer goes NOT to the page I want it to go to (Voxeo's own page) but rather to this community page that Facebook created.

Why, Facebook?

Why can't I control which pages I want to link to?

If we had that control, this whole "community page" issue would be a moot point. I - and other Voxeons - could simply choose to link to the "real" page that we maintain and that shows what Voxeo is up to today.

But I can't control the links on my Profile. I'm locked in to Facebook's walled garden and the rules that they make. If I don't like them, I can of course leave Facebook (and I know some who have).

So it goes.

Perhaps in the next profile redesign that Facebook will do to make our info even smaller so that they display even more ads in our faces... perhaps then maybe, just maybe, they might change their linking policy.

But I'm not holding my breath...

Meanwhile, I'd really just like someone from Facebook to offer a clear explanation of who would meet the requirements to take over a company Community Page. That's it. How about it, Facebook?

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Video: "Behind The TEDTalk 2010" Follows Two Speakers As They Prepare

Recently I was pointed to this great video, Behind The TEDTalk 2010 that follows Sir Ken Robinson as he prepared for his TED talk and Raghava KK as he prepared for his talk. They are two of the many speakers and it's both fun and interesting to see and hear their thoughts as they get ready to present at TED:

Behind the TEDTalk 2010 from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

Kudos to the TED team for producing this look behind the scenes...

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MarsEdit v3.2 Released - Continual Improvements for Offline Blogging on MacOS X

MarseditThis week, Daniel Jalkut over at Red Sweater Software released version 3.2 of his MarsEdit desktop blog editor and while the release notes show really just minor additions:
  • New Word Count feature displays in post status bar
  • Now reads previously used Tags from WordPress on refresh
  • Now more resilient to malformed XML and "bad characters" in downloaded posts
  • Performance improvements in media browser and autosave features
  • Now code signed to prevent need for re-authorizing keychain access every release

... the truth is that they continue to show the ongoing improvements to what is already an excellent desktop blog editor. For instance, the word count in the status bar may be a minor thing, but it's very cool to know how long your post is in terms of word count.

Yes, it's commercial software that you have to pay for. But if you use a Mac and write across multiple different blog platforms like I do, MarsEdit rapidly becomes a key part of being able to crank out content on a consistent basis.

Sometime I really need to do a screencast to show why I like using it so much...

Anyway, if you're on a Mac and do a lot of blogging, do check out MarsEdit if you haven't already.

P.S. And no, I don't have any kind of commercial relationship with Red Sweater... in fact, I paid them for the software. I'm just a very pleased user!

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LinkedIn's Brilliant PR Move - The "Personal" Letter To Its First Million Members

I do have to hand it to CEO Reid Hoffman and the others at LinkedIn for a positively brilliant action today. Like many others in the early adopter set, I received a "personal thank you" from Reid Hoffman thanking me for being among the first million LinkedIn users now that they have hit 100 million users. (If you didn't get the letter, no worries, TechCrunch posted a copy.)

The genius here was including our actual member number (which turns out to be the ID number in your LinkedIn URL). Mine is 199,110 ... which when you realize that there are now 100,000,000+ members means that I was indeed among the earlier folks using LinkedIn.

And... like the sheep we so often are in the early adopter set... my first reaction was to go tweet about it.

At which point I noticed a zillion other people tweeting about it...


Absolutely brilliant.

Some folks just tweeted how cool it was:



While others tweeted about being an early adopter:

Twitter   ian kennedy Thanks and congrats  quix

Twitter   Tim Wagner 476 525 Never let it be sa

And others did note the mass e-mail side of it:

Twitter   Dossy Shiobara Neat just got the mass em

Twitter   Ali Fenn  35 605 Great personal t

My favorite was perhaps this one...

Twitter   Brian Steeves I m an early adopter with

and this witty tweet...

Twitter   Sameer Patel I love you regardless of y

My own tweet, then, was one of amusement more than anything else.

Brilliantly done, LinkedIn ... you played us so extremely well. Appealing to our pride in being early adopters. You had to know we would tweet that out. And of course, we did. (And some of us even wrote blog posts about it.)

Well done.

P.S. Congrats, by the way, on hitting 100 million users.

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One Simple Example of Why We Need Akismet and Other Anti-Blog-Comment-Spam Services

Need I say anything more beyond this actual comment received on one of my blogs today?
Hi, i just wanted to come here to show you about a super cheap service that posts comments such as this on millions of WordPress blogs. Why you may ask, well you may want to sell a product or service and target webmasters or simply just improve the amount of backlinks your web site has which will improve your Google rankings which will then bring your website much more visitors and cash. Take a quick look at this website for much more info.

Naturally I will not include the link to the spam service.

These are the kind of services that need to be blocked, because they seriously pollute the conversations out there. I run blog comment anti-spam services on all my blogs - and/or moderate all comments - precisely because of this kind of garbage.

It's a shame that we have to... because it potentially puts blocks (or at least delays) in the way of conversations... but we do.

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Happy 5th Birthday, Twitter... Amazing Amount of Disruption in 5 Years...

As noted in a post on the Twitter blog today, it was five years ago today, on March 21, 2006, that Jack Dorsey sent out the first tweet:


Twitter published some truly amazing stats:

Twitter users now send more than 140 million Tweets a day which adds up to a billion Tweets every 8 days—by comparison, it took 3 years, 2 months, and 1 day to reach the first billion Tweets. While it took about 18 months to sign up the first 500,000 accounts, we now see close to 500,000 accounts created every day

Today it's hard to wear a PR/marketing had and NOT think about the impact Twitter has had within the communications world. It has fundamentally changed so much about the tools we use and, together with Facebook, the ways in which many of us now communicate. Remember RSS readers? Remember email? Remember all those tools-by-nameless-startups-that-have-since-died? Now, so many of us get our headlines from Twitter... and it's become a way in which we communicate. Admittedly, I'll often send someone a direct message on Twitter before I'll send them an email or even call or SMS them.

Watching what's happening in the news lately... whether it's been the Japan quake, the leadership change and protests in Egypt or the the chaos unfolding now through the Middle East... Twitter has been a source of info for all of those major events. Beyond the major events, of course, Twitter's also been a way to stay in touch about all the mundane things happening around us and in our lives.

All in 140 characters or less.

And while the Twitter, Inc., of today has done some funky things lately and is still seeming to struggle with that wee little question of a business model and how to grow its ecosystem without alienating its developers... it is a good day to pause and say "Happy Birthday" to Twitter.

I joined Twitter on October 24, 2006 (per ) after Chris Brogan mentioned it to a bunch of us in an email or somewhere... and Twitter has certainly become a part of my daily communication flow ever since... it's been amazing to see the growth and evolution of the medium.

With 400 employees and a MUCH bigger marketing budget, Twitter did put out this video today - to which Frederic Lardinois had this interesting viewpoint - "What Twitter’s 5th Anniversary Video Tells Us About Its Future". As I said above, Twitter, Inc., has some interesting challenges ahead of it. Meanwhile, here's the video:

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My Problem With Klout Scores: Beyonce Gets a 50 - Without Ever Sending A Tweet!

KloutI have a friend who checks his Klout Score religiously. Daily... in fact... multiple times per day[1]. As a poster boy for Klout's marketing, he wants to "get more Klout" and is perplexed by my lukewarm reaction when he brings it up, particularly given that I have a decent Klout score that is much higher than his.

The reason for my reticence is basically this:

Klout scores are useful, but very definitely imperfect.

Despite Klout's bold marketing that they are "the Standard for Influence", the reality is that they are simply one metric that can be taken into account when trying to determine how influential a certain person is online. They are not the end-all and be-all... the ultimate arbiter... etc., etc.

Just one metric.


A case study in the imperfection of Klout's system would be the Twitter account allegedly for singer Beyonce Knowles: @beyonce. The account currently has over a million followers... and a Klout score of 50. (Klout scores are based on a scale of 0 to 100.) Here's the chart:


Notice that the account is indicated to be a "Thought Leader":

You are a thought leader in your industry. Your followers rely on you, not only to share the relevant news, but to give your opinion on the issues. People look to you to help them understand the day's developments. You understand what's important and what your audience values.

But here's the thing....

the Beyonce Twitter account HAS NOT SENT OUT A SINGLE TWEET!

Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. None.


And yet somehow this account has a Klout score of "50"? With a badge saying that it had "500 Total Retweets"? (HUH? How do you do a retweet when there are no tweets?)

Proponents of Klout may of course say that this shows the influence Beyonce would have should she decide to start tweeting. And sure... with 1 million followers, this account certainly could have some influence. And yes, perhaps this is just an "edge case" ... but still, it is an example to me of why obsession over the metric isn't helpful.

Technorati Authority, Redux

You see, we've seen this movie before. Those of us who have been around the blogging world for a while (coming up on 11 years for me) remember well the "Authority" ranking established by Technorati in its earlier years. It aimed to show how well your blog ranked in the millions of blogs out there. People tracked their Technorati Authority ranking religiously... they added buttons and widgets to their blogs... people wrote blog posts and had conference sessions about what you could do to increase your Technorati Authority... people stressed out when their Authority ranking dropped. It was all quite the rage.

And just like the Klout score, it was an imperfect tool... as were all the other metrics/indices/etc. that popped up trying to be the next best measurement of influence.

Technorati Authority was useful, but it was just one more metric to consider.

And IS it Beyonce?

Just to continue with the example a moment more:

How do we know that this IS Beyonce?

Anyone can create a Twitter account at any name. Anyone can put whatever name they want in a profile. Anyone can upload whatever image they want for their Twitter account. Anyone can put whatever URL they want into the "Bio" field of a Twitter account.

This "@beyonce" account is not a "Verified Account". It very well could be Beyonce or one of her entourage setting this account up for future use. Or it could be a bored 13-year-old who noticed the account was available and is now sitting in his or her room laughing their ass off at how many people they suckered into following the account[2].

We have no way of knowing... particularly when the account isn't tweeting.

The Klout score is for the Twitter account, which may or may not be the actual person named by the account.

Measuring Online Influence Is Insanely Difficult

If it were easy, we'd have simple metrics we could all agree upon.

Say you have User1 with 1,000,000 followers and User2 with only 100 followers... but what is missing is that in User2's 100 followers are the heads of state for most of the countries of the world... and the heads of the largest corporations in the world. And that User1 has a high proportion of "spam" accounts.

Who has more "influence"? And is that online or offline influence?

Not easy questions to sort through... and ultimately bound by a certain degree of subjectivity. Which is why services like Klout, PeerIndex and others that are popping up all do provide a matrix of other indicators to provide more detail behind a "score". Klout has "true reach, amplification, network" and a comparison matrix. Peer Index has "authority, activity, audience" and their own charts and matrices.

Of course, so often those additional indicators get lost in the desire for a simple "score" that you can use to sort people into different buckets of influence. (How many of you know your Klout Score but don't remember the other numbers?)

Don't get me wrong... the scores from Klout, PeerIndex, etc. are very definitely useful metrics... they can help us quickly understand whether the person screaming about our company online is someone with a large audience. Or they can help us identify people online that we may want to be following or targeting.

But they are just one more metric to be considered. And they are not perfect.

P.S. Hat tip to Anil Dash for tweeting that the Beyonce account was the first he knew of to hit 1 million followers without sending out a tweet, which is how I learned of the account.

[1] Which doesn't make much sense to me given that my understanding is that Klout only updates their scores once a day.

[2] A separate blog post could be written about how Twitter's encouraging people to follow various accounts may wind up recommending an account like this one with 0 tweets to a good number of people who may inadvertently click the "Follow" link without realizing that the account had never tweeted.

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Tumblr's Awesome Error Message

Lately I've been using Tumblr a bit for a project and overall it's gone quite well and left me quite impressed with the service. Today, though, while working on the site Tumblr had some problem because suddenly I couldn't get to the site.

However, Tumblr did give me a great laugh with this error message:


And with that laugh, I gave them a bit of a break and went to do something else for a few minutes before checking back.

Lesson - if you have a technical problem, at least try to amuse people with your error message...

(And just a minute or two later my Tumblr site was responding again.)

UPDATE: My colleague Justin Dupree pointed out the origin of the Tumbeasts, as did someone named Daniel (nice name!) as a comment to this post. Thanks to both Justin and Daniel for pointing out the origin!

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