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17 posts from February 2011

The Best Comment Spam I've Ever Received... (That Made Me Laugh)

I just had to laugh when I received this comment to one of my blogs (pointing to a spammy site that has left many spam comments before):


There's an exquisite irony to receiving a spam comment asking about spam... :-)

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Remember MySpace? Chart-Of-The-Day Shows That We Clearly Don't...

Wow... what a difference a year makes. This week a Silicon Alley Insider Chart-Of-The-Day clearly shows the demise of MySpace in terms of visitors:

Chartoftheday myspace

I can certainly count myself among that number. I do have a MySpace account, but I honestly haven't logged into the site in ages... maybe not even at all last year. (Ha! Actually, my MySpace profile still says I work at Mitel... and that changed back in, oh, October 2007! I guess it was a wee bit longer than a year... )

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Content Creators Rejoice! Google Takes Action To Kill Off Content Farms

C'est moi l'plus beau

For those of us who spend our time creating content online (as I do) and strive to make that content of the best quality and of value to people, the rise of so-called "content farms" has been an annoying feature of the online landscape: both the networks of sites that simply scrape our content and surround it in ads... and the networks of sites that churn out incredibly large quantities of low-grade content that is optimized for SEO so that their pages can rank highly and get eyeballs to their pages and their ads.

For we who strive to create "high quality" content, the spammers and content farmers were annoying in that Google search results seemed to feature these sites (because they were trying to game Google) when our higher quality was ranked lower.

The good news is that as they threatened earlier, the folks at Google stated that they have changed their ranking algorithm to de-value low quality sites. That is to say... they are aiming to hit the spammers and content farmers at their critical reason for being: search engine result placement.

From Google's blog post, with my own emphasis added:

But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.

Yet to be seen is exactly what they do and how they tweak the algorithms... there will always be an arms race, I fear, between the search engines like Google and those who want to try to game the system.

Regardless, the move is welcome!

Many articles written about this today... some I liked include:

Bring on the changes, Google! We who spend our time striving to create high quality content welcome them.

Image credit: rgs_ on Flickr

UPDATE, Feb 26: There have been a number of articles out there seeking to show the actual impact of this change. One of the best I've seen is this post from SISTRIX that shows the 25 biggest losers according to the research they've done.

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Slides: "Social Media Overview" by Lou Kerner

One of the slide shows that I've seen circulated lately on Twitter is this "Social Media Overview" deck by Lou Kerner. It's a great set of statistics and slides about social media. I'd be curious to hear Lou give it at some point, but in the meantime, the slides are quite interesting:

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Oooo, shiny... WordPress 3.1 Gives Easy Internal Linking, Admin Bar, More...

The big news in the WordPress world this week was the release of WordPress 3.1 with all the goodness a new WP release brings. The release blog post and the more detailed entry in the WordPress Codex mention a number of features, but two that I definitely like are:

1. The New "Admin Bar" - This shows up on the top of your WordPress window and does indeed give you easy access to common functions. When you have comments, the number of comments shows up to the right of the word "Comments". Seems to be quite nicely done.

Wp31 adminbar

2. Internal Linking - Hooray!!! If you are writing frequent blog posts, like I do, and want to easily reference older blog posts, it's always been a bit of a pain to have to find and reference those older posts. Now, when you use the visual editor in WordPress 3.1, you can simply select the text and click the link icon in the editor. The standard window to insert a link pops up, but with a new option "Or link to existing content". You can then simply search through your older posts (or choose from your list of most recent posts). Click the post you want, press "Add Link", and... ta da!

Wp31 internallinks

This is truly an awesome capability for those of us who want to frequently reference older posts.

The blog post announcing WordPress 3.1 references a number of other goodies, including improvements to the "Network" support, that I'm definitely looking forward to trying out.

If you use WordPress and have upgraded to 3.1, what do you like the best?

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Video: Donna Papacosta on Curating Twitter with

While I haven't yet found that using to "read Twitter and Facebook as a daily newspaper" fits within my daily workflow, I know that a good number of friends and colleagues use the service... and Donna Papacosta recently published this video explaining how to get started:

Why doesn't it work for me? Mainly because I already have a whole system in place using TweetDeck for monitoring Twitter that I check regularly... and for the "browsing" that you can do with, I'm a big user of FlipBoard on my iPad.

Still, I can understand the value in getting a daily email summary that can highlight some of the things you may have missed. It's good to see these kind of tools being developed. The whole issue of curating the insane volume of content out there is a topic that will consume us all for quite some time, I'd say...

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365 Days of Blog Posts: How Did I Do in January 2011?

365posts jan2010Given that I publicly set myself a goal to write at least one blog post every day of 2011, it's only fair to check in on that goal and see how I'm doing.

How did I do in January 2011?

Well, the image on the right shows the picture. In the 31 days of January, I published:

87 total blog posts, of which:
54 were on my personal blogs - 1.7 / day
33 were on Voxeo blogs - basically 1/day

And for my personal blogs, I did publish at least one post on each and every day of January.

Now, my original goal was just to track what I published across my personal blogs... and that's still my overall aim. But I figured it couldn't hurt to also track the Voxeo blogs and see how I do there.

I should note, of course, that this Voxeo number is not all the posts across all the Voxeo blogs - it is all the posts that I wrote. There are other contributors, although my posts do make up about 2/3 of the content that we publish (but, gee, that's my job at Voxeo :-)).

So... yes, I hit my target for the month of January. Let's see if I can keep that going all the way through February, particularly given that I'm taking a week of vacation.

For those interested, I'm simply manually tracking the number of blogs in a Numbers spreadsheet on my iPad. I toyed with creating a script that would count up my Friendfeed feed or something like that... and maybe I'll build some kind of counter like that this year... but at the moment I'm just using a spreadsheet on my always available iPad.

Fun stuff... the challenge continues...

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Chosen as a 2011 Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR)

SncrlogoI was very pleased recently to receive word that I was chosen as one of the 2011-2012 Fellows of the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR).

SNCR is a global nonprofit foundation and think tank "dedicated to the advanced study of the latest developments in new media and communications, and their effect on traditional media and business models, communications, culture and society." The organization sponsors a range of research and publications all focused around researching and communicating the changes going on all around us.

In a news release today, SNCR announced the 2011-2012 Fellows, including:

The new class of SNCR Fellows includes: Jeffrey Edlund, CTO Communications and Media Solutions, HP; Jennifer Edwards, assistant professor of communication studies, Tarleton State University; Atanu Garai, consultant for India’s Population Council; Egle Kvieskaite, EU project manager, Vilnius Pedagogical University and director of the Lithuanian College of Democracy; Alicia Nieva-Woodgate, managing director, ANW Networks, LLC; Ingrid Sturgis, assistant professor, Howard University; and Dan York, director of conversations, Voxeo Corporation.

We join a rather impressive list of existing Fellows that consists of, as the news release says...

more than 100 Founding Fellows, Senior Fellows and alumni who are business leaders, scholars, professional communicators, members of the media, futurists and technologists from around the globe. The SNCR Fellows collaborate on research initiatives, educational offerings, and the establishment of standards and best practices focused on the advanced study of emerging trends and developments in media and communications, and their effect on business, media, culture and society.

Given that the SNCR Fellows program is highly competitive with only a small percentage of applicants being accepted each year, I am both humbled and pleased to be joining the ranks. I look forward to working with the other SNCR Fellows and continuing to tell the story of how both the ways in which we communicate and the tools we use are all changing.

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Do You Need to Hit The Publish Button RIGHT NOW?

PublishbuttonDo you need to publish your blog post right when you finished writing it? Right at that precise moment?

Or could it wait to be published for an hour? or a day? or even a week?

Could there be a better time to publish this particular post? Or a better day of the week?

When you finish writing a blog post, it is tempting to just hit the "Publish" button right at that moment because, well...

you're done!

Or at least... you think you are.

You want to just get the post out.

Move on to the next post coming out of your brain.

But when you are about to hit that button...


For just a moment... and ask yourself...

Does this post NEED to go out right now?

Maybe it does... maybe you are breaking some news or chasing a topic that is breaking on a site like Techmeme.... maybe time is critical. Maybe you've set a personal goal and need to hit it (been there, done that).

But maybe it doesn't. Maybe if you let it sit overnight or for a day or two you'll have some additional insight to add. Maybe you'll see a better way to word the post if you look at it again later. Maybe you'll spot that typo that you just didn't see in the heat of writing the post.

Maybe you can instead schedule the post to come out at some future time. Instead of having a spiky publishing schedule where posts come out at whatever random moments you write them, you could have a more consistent schedule where posts come out every day or every couple of days.

Most blogging platforms have a scheduling feature, and there are even some great tools like the Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress (see also another review I wrote about it) that give you a view of what you have coming out when. (I use it and definitely like it.)

Admittedly, I struggle with this concept myself... it is soooo tempting just to press "Publish" and get your content out there... but if you pause for just that moment, it may in fact wind up working out better for you!

What do you think? Do you schedule posts? Or do you just hit Publish? (Or will you now try to schedule some posts?)

P.S. This post was in fact scheduled for a future time... even though I was sorely tempted to just hit that dang "Publish" button!

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BlogWorld and New Media Expo Coming To New York May 24-26, 2011

BlogworldNews out today is that BlogWorld & New Media Expo is coming to New York this May, finally bringing one of their events to the East Coast of the US. Interestingly it is being co-located with "Book Expo" and they offered this explanation:
Two year’s ago at BlogWorld Leo Laporte said during his talk “We are not new media anymore. Now we are just THE MEDIA”. While we all believe that to be true, many in the traditional media are not convinced yet. Since our inception we have had a couple of Big Hairy Audacious Goals. One of them is to foster and accelerate the convergence of traditional and new media. We can’t think of a single better opportunity to help us accomplish that goal. New York City is the center of the traditional media universe. For four days Book Expo America is the center of the traditional publishing universe. By locating BlogWorld and Book Expo side by side we are bringing the best and brightest from both communities together for the first time anywhere. By the way the folks at Book Expo are just as excited about this as we are.

It will be interesting to see how the program evolves. You can follow @blogworldexpo on Twitter and watch the website at They note in the blog post that they are looking for speakers.

Kudos to the BlogWorld team for bringing their event to New York and I look forward to seeing how it works out!

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