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9 posts from September 2011

WordTwit Pro Gives You Excellent Controls for Auto-Tweeting of Posts

I've long been a fan of the WordTwit plugin from BraveNewCode and used it on both Voxeo's blogs as well as my own to auto-tweet out new blog posts. Given that I write 99% of my blog posts offline (using MarsEdit) and send them to the blog site for posting, the fact that I couldn't configure the resulting auto-tweet in WordTwit was never really a big deal to me. Some of my Voxeo colleagues who used the WordPress editor, though, really wanted to be able to modify the auto-tweet.

Primarily they wanted to add hashtags, although sometimes they wanted to change the tweet to be different from the title of the post.

The BraveNewCode folks came out with WordTwit Pro back in June and with my chaotic summer I'd never really taken a look at it... but now that I have I admit to being quite impressed! This video gives a great tour:

I admit that what I personally find most interesting is the ability to automatically schedule multiple tweets. I know from my own reading of my Twitter stream that there is no way I can even remotely keep up with the stream... and so I only see things that happen to come by at any given time. I've often thought about auto-tweeting a blog post... and then tweeting it again maybe 8 or 12 hours later when a different group of people may be monitoring Twitter. This plugin now helps automate that.

I haven't installed it yet on my own site... but I'm definitely thinking of doing so...

The Uncomfortable Awkwardness of Mark Zuckerberg's Keynote

F8 zuckerbergI cringed a lot yesterday. It was a bit painful at times to watch Mark Zuckerberg's keynote presentation at Facebook's F8 conference yesterday.

Regarding the keynote, much is being written now about Facebook's new (and very cool) Timeline feature and about how the OpenGraph API encourages further sharing.

All that is very cool... but for me I found Zuckerberg's keynote interesting more in the human side.

In how it didn't work.

Zuckerberg made attempts at jokes... and at least on the live stream there was often no response - or at best a small smattering of applause.

More attempts. More crickets.

Awkward pauses at times when perhaps he thought there might be some reaction.

Over-repetition of key phrases perhaps because someone had coached him that he needed to say those phrases again.

It was all very... human.

Mark Zuckerberg has never pretended to be an amazing public speaker. He's an engineer... a techie... a geek. MUCH more comfortable talking about the details of some of the features than in making the jokes and surrounding contextual conversation ... or trying to connect with the audience.

And he's 27 years old.

And he was speaking to an audience of over 100,000 viewers of the live stream, X-thousand people at the F8 conference and through news and replays out to the millions of people who care about Facebook.

Just a wee bit of pressure. :-)

As a public speaker, I unfortunately can't usually sit back and just listen to a presentation... it's an inherent part of what I do that I'm always watching other speakers - listening to how they speak, watching how they move, listening to the words they use, looking at how they interact with the audience... just watching with a critical eye because that is how you become a better speaker.

And so I watched... and cringed when things didn't go the way he perhaps hoped.

We've all been there... sometimes presentations don't work the way you think they will. Jokes fall flat. Pictures don't resonate. Audiences don't interact. And it's all very well for me to sit here and comment... but I wasn't on the stage where he was... under the pressure he was...

In the end, the people watching were there to hear how Facebook was going to dramatically change the way people can interact with the site... and they got that info. Zuckerberg gave the demos, introduced the new features... all went well on that front.

And if Zuckerberg's stage presence seemed strained or awkward at times, it is perhaps a sign of his newness to this global stage upon which he finds himself. I respect him for getting out there and being that very public face of his company (as if he really had any choice). We're obviously only seeing the beginning of what Mark Zuckerberg will do in our communications industry... it will continue to be interesting to see where he goes - and indeed how he grows into presenting over the years ahead.

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Why Klout Gets a FAIL For Their Notification Emails

These email notifications from Klout get a big, fat FAIL in my book:


I should NEVER be REQUIRED to go back to your website to get notifications about your service.

You have already interrupted my life by sending me an email. Now you want me to further interrupt my life to go to your website to see whatever brilliant piece of information you want to share with me?


This is a classic mistake by new services. They want to get people to come back to their website. Once users go to their website, the service can then track the users' usage and also try to entice them to go into other areas of the service.

It may work for some services... but for many others it just services to piss off users. They may just ignore your email messages and your services... they may mark your email as "spam"... or they may write cranky blog posts like this one.

Here is a request to all the zillion new social services out there:


If you want me to use your service... and more importantly, if you want me to be a happy user of your service and promote it to other people, then follow this one simple step:


Send me a notification email WITH THE MESSAGE INCLUDED.

Facebook does this.

Twitter does this.

Google+ does this.

LinkedIn does this. (although I seem to recall they didn't at first, but that was years ago)

Every service should do this.

Don't make me go back to your website.

Respect my time.

Maybe I'll use your service more.... maybe I'll click back to your web site and respond or take other action. And yes, it might be a little less trackable... but you'll have happier users. (And people like me won't write cranky blog posts like this one. :-) )

How Meta Can You Get? A Blog Spam Comment About Spam

Loved checking my email this morning and seeing this comment submitted to one of my posts on this blog:
Can you recommend a blog comment anti-span service? I've basically abandoned my blog because of all the comment spam.

The comment was, of course, spam!

The "name" of the commentor was "buy _____" (I'm not going to give them the dignity of saying what the product was), and the URL was a completely spammy URL.

You wonder if the person/people behind it understand the irony and are just out there somewhere chuckling wondering how many sites will actually post their comment as a legitimate comment...

P.S. And unfortunately TypePad did go ahead and publish this comment despite the spammy name and URL and so I had to remove the comment...

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Final Day of the 2011 FIR Listener Survey - Help Us Guide The Show!

Do you listen to the For Immediate Release Podcast? If so, do you have a few minutes to take the FIR listener survey if you haven't already done so?

The survey is a very important tool to help Shel and Neville (and by extension, we who are correspondents) shape the future of the FIR podcast. The feedback IS highly valued and much appreciated.


So please, if you have a few minutes, help us out and complete the survey!

P.S. And if you are not an FIR listener but are interested in social media, why not give it a try now? Each week there is an hour-long show plus sometimes other interviews and book reviews. I'm always learning something new from all the great content!

My FIR Report - Sept 19, 2011 - An Update on My Job Change And Content Strategy

My report into today's FIR episode #617 was a little different than my usual reports. Instead of an update on the latest technology and trends in social media, I gave a more personal update about my job change to work as Senior Content Strategist over at the Internet Society. Those who want the details can read the full blog post, but suffice it to say that I've moved from my role at Voxeo over to a more education-focused role at the Internet Society, a global nonprofit organization focused on the missing of promoting the "open Internet". My role will focus on the creation, curation, distribution and promotion of content related to that mission. While I'm definitely going to miss all the great folks and great work at Voxeo, I'm excited for this next chapter... I gave some more info in my report into today's FIR episode.

Next week, I'll return to my usual commentary on the intersection of social media and technology... :-)

Today Is The Last Chance To Enter The 2011 SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards

SncrlogoToday, September 9, 2011, is the last day to submit your entry to the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) Excellence in New Communications Awards:
The Society’s prestigious awards program honors individuals, corporations, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and media outlets that are innovating the use of social media and Internet communications technologies (ICT) in the areas of business, media, journalism and professional communications, entertainment, education, social initiatives, government and politics.

If you would like to be considered, please submit your entry TODAY. Winners will be honored at the Annual SNCR Research Symposium & Awards Gala at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, on November 3rd and 4th, 2011.

I'm looking forward to learning from this year's winners!

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How Will The Internet Evolve? An audio recording of a recent panel offers chilling ideas...

IsocHow will the Internet evolve over the years ahead?

What are the most pressing challenges for the evolution of the Internet?

That was the topic of a recent panel discussion sponsored by the Internet Society held at a recent Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting in Quebec City in July 2011. Being a strong advocate for an open Internet, I found myself listening to the audio recording on a recent car trip... and admittedly found myself rather concerned by the challenges outlined by the panel participants.

With the Internet no longer being simply the "research network" it once was and now being "critical infrastructure", it's a vastly different world with both commercial and government interests wanting to control the network. What are the competing interests? Where is it all going? What may we lose in the evolution?

The session lasted for about 45 minutes and is definitely worth a listen if you are interested in where this critical network known as the Internet is heading...

P.S. Slides are also available, but they are just a few slides served to frame the discussion - the meat of the subject is all in the audio recording.

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John Battelle On The Importance of Aggregating The Digital Content We Post In Walled Gardens

The Internet Is Open
As we spread our digital content across the Internet, through separate services that we do NOT control, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Quora, how do we aggregate all that information somewhere where we DO control the content? So as to preserve our "identity" formed by that collective work?

That is at the heart of John Battelle's great piece yesterday, "We Need An Identity Re-Aggregator (That We Control). I've written at some length over the years about the re-emergence of online "walled gardens" and the need for us to maintain our own identity on the web. I've also spoken about this on any number of FIR reports I've submitted... and to me John really nails it with this paragraph:

The downsides of not owning your own words, on your own platform, are not limited simply to money. Over time, the words and opinions one leaves all over the web form a web of identity - your identity - and controlling that identity feels, to me, a human right. But unless you are a sophisticated netizen, you're never going to spend the time and effort required to gather all your utterances in one place, in a fashion that best reflects who you are in the world.

As he notes further on in the piece, even if you link to your contributions on one of those services, should that service disappear all your content is lost.

Over the past few months, I've been trying to change my behavior a bit and revert my own writing to how it used to be. I'm trying to post messages on my own blogs FIRST and then linking to it from the other services.

Even this post... I could have left it as a comment on John's blog, or as a reply inside of Facebook or Google+... but instead I am posting it here it is on a platform that I control.

It's hard... the various services make it seductively convenient just to have all your interaction within the walls of that service. And I certainly do have some level of conversation within those walls. But for longer content - or commentary that I want to preserve, even in the form of links to other sites with some comment, I'm trying to do more of that from my own sites. Kind of like how "blogging" was back about 5+ years ago before we got all caught up in these new shiny services that we all enjoy so much.

Meanwhile, I, too, would love to have a "meta service" along the lines of what John suggests...

Image credit: jeremybrooks on Flickr

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