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2006

Microsoft and free laptops…Ohhh the drama

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So Just before Christmas Microsoft sent out emails to several influential techy bloggers and offered them a free new laptop loaded with Windows new operating system Vista. Then a few other bloggers who didn’t get one complained it was unethical. Now Microsoft wants their laptops back.

Now how do I as a non techy let alone techy blogger react to this bit of blogodrama? /yawn.

I am no huge fan of Microsoft. They are a big company so it’s cool not to like them, but in their defense, I along with most computer users in the world have never used anything other than some form of Windows. Sometimes it crashes, sometimes it gives me problems but all in all Microsoft and Windows have made my real job, and my internet surfing, and play time a lot easier and more enjoyable that it was before they came along.

When it comes to techy bloggers most use Macs. It is very cool for them to hate Microsoft but for some reason love Apple (another very big company) who I have been predicting will go BK for the last 15 years. (If you read this blog for any length of time you will find out I am often wrong.)

Getting back to the topic at hand; something struck me while attending the recent Blog Business Summit. Nearly everyone in the room was using a Mac. Nearly every speaker was using a Mac. These are the “influential techy bloggers” that Microsoft is trying to get to review their new Vista software.

Now if you are a PC user and you have ever met a user you know it’s like a cult. (Trust me I have been to Macworld it is weird). How does Microsoft get any kind of fair shot being reviewed by an army of Mac users?

Well a really nice gift that even the most devoted Microsoft hater would find hard to turn down is a damn good start. This give away was a damn good idea if you ask me.

I agree with Robert Scoble as long as the bloggers disclose they received the gifts, the ethical hurdle has been crossed and readers can keep that in mind when reading the review. Is it going to buy Microsoft great reviews from devoted acolytes of Apple?

I doubt it. I would guess at best it would tip the scales back to almost dead even with a little bias still weighing against the mighty Microsoft. Need proof?

How about Marshal Kirkpatrick’s post when Microsoft asked for their laptop back?

Microsoft and AMD sent out a pile of very expensive (yet trashy looking) laptops to a number of bloggers over the past week. We were told we could keep them – now after a day of minor outrage by some people they are emailing us back with the following request that we not keep them after all! And to think, I almost smashed mine in the middle of the street 10 minutes into trying to use it! I did figure out some of the basics after awhile, but it’s still nothing life changing.

Does that sound like a guy who just got bought off by the man for a good review?

Like I said I am often wrong but I think I am right on this one. Here is another snippet from Marshall’s post:

Ha ha ha – the snazzy laptop I got in the mail from Microsoft yesterday was the only way I was ever going to use Vista anyway.

Case closed.

More on the Time Person of the Year Award

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Darren Rowse who is a great blogging advocate gently chided Time earlier today for their person of the year award. When I first read his post, I thought he had nailed it, then I thought he was a bit harsh on Time and felt compelled to post this in his comments section which I wanted to repeat here:

“You know when I first read your post; I thought Darren has nailed it. Then one commenter said you were nuts to criticize time.

A couple of points, first off far more people read Time than any blog on the planet. More than most blogs on the planet combined in fact.

Just an idea of how Big time is:

“Time Inc. magazines are read 340 million times each month worldwide by 173 million adults over18 years of age. Two out of every three U.S. adults read a Time Inc. publication every month. In the last year, about 70% of women in the U.K. read a magazine published by Time Inc.’s IPC Media unit, the largest consumer magazine company in the U.K.

Time Inc. continues to account for nearly a quarter of the advertising revenue of all U.S. consumer magazines. Time Inc. ended 2005 with three out of the top four magazines in both advertising revenues and pages. People remained the #1 magazine in advertising revenue for the 15th consecutive year. Seven of the top 25 magazines in advertising revenues in 2005 were Time Inc. titles. “

So when a traditional media magazine this big recognizes how big new media has become it is a very big deal.

As new media content creators we often forget just how small we really are compared to the whole non blogging world out there.

I repeat this often because it bares repeating. Most people I speak to when I tell them about my blog, let alone my show BlogWorld ask me “what exactly is a blog?”.

These aren’t idiots living in caves. These are professionals, smart people, computer savvy people, business leaders and most of them have no clue.

That isn’t to say new media isn’t big it is and Time magazine just told the world about it.

No matter their motivations, what Time just did was a very good thing for bloggers, and new media content creators everywhere.

So if they get a few dozen, hundred, or thousand links out of it, I say good for them.”

/apologies for quoting myself. 
Now after posting that I re-read Darren’s post and changed my opinion of his intentions. it didn’t sound as harsh the second time. Well in the process of posting this, i re-read the comments section and notice he commented saying it was a joke =p. But I wasn’t the only one to take it that way. One of his commenters threatened not to link to Time to teach them a lesson.

By the way true to the blogosphere Time whatever their motivations has just potentially given the biggest single boost to new media ever, and people who make a living creating new media, advocating new media, consulting about new media are criticizing them for it.

Nobody bites the hand that feeds them like new media.

StumbleUpon Rocks!

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Robert Scoble posted about this service the other day at his blog. I decided what the heck I’ll give it a try. It Rocks!

It is a total time sink, or as I said in the comments at Scobleizer it’s a time sink finder. The good news is it finds time sinks you really like. For example I found some great camping sites, a couple of silly games, scientific websites, political websites I had never heard of, guitar sites. Just great stuff that I was interested in.  So if you have a little time on your hands I highly recomend installing this thing. It only takes a minute, you use it when you have some time to spare and most likely you will StumbleUpon some great websites you might never have found without it.

2006 Time person of the year is….New Media….Errr….You.

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Oficially Time’s 2006 person of the year is you and me, and everyone who in their words:

You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.

It continues:

But look at 2006 through a different lens and you’ll see another story, one that isn’t about conflict or great men. It’s a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It’s about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people’s network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It’s about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It’s not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It’s a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it’s really a revolution.

And we are so ready for it. We’re ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos—those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms—than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.

And we didn’t just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.

In other words we created new media, social media, conversational media, call it what you will but when a traditional media giant like Time recognizes it, odds are it is here to stay.

The amazing thing is we have barely scraped the surface of this new medium. Most people I talk to, smart people, business people when I tell them about our show, or about blogs answer “what exactly is a blog”, let alone a podcast, or a wiki. People involved in the new media revolution tend to forget most of the world still has no clue what we are doing here.

Articles like is evidence that some members of the traditional media are starting to pay attention. Reality is that is where most of the world still gets its news and they are just starting to learn about new media.
Others blogging this story: Mashable: YouTube is the winner.

Bloggers Blog:
While it is nice to see Time magazine acknowledging the power of the Internet, Time’s “You” actually leaves a huge number of people out. As high as 99% of all the people are left out if you follow the 1% rule. Many people may read blogs and many people may look at the videos on video sharing websites but the majority do not contribute any content at all.

Paul Kedrosky:

Time just named “you” its Person of the Year for 2006. Yes, it’s an incredible cop-out in a year when wasted multitudes died in Iraq, in a year containing newsmakers like Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Korea’s Jim Jong-Il, and even Nancy Pelosi.

Micro Persuasion saw this coming two years ago:

Well, it looks like we were off by two years. Compare the two images below. The one on the right was created by Hypergene back in 2004. The one on the left came out today. Eerily similar eh? We needed the two years. This is a shift that’s bigger than blogging and citizen journalism.

Josh Hallett:

The question is, what about the people not taking part in creating/using any of this user-generated-content? Are they part of the ‘You’? Perhaps they should have a different cover of Time that says, ‘Them’.

Don Surber blogging journalist:

I like the choice. Technology can liberate people, which is why so many regimes are trying to keep the lid on the Internet as if it were Pandora’s box. Most of the technology is used for crap: baseball fantasy leagues, crotch shots of celebrities and spam, spam, spam.

FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog:

Indeed……..The blogosphere and internet is much more significant than Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Il.

In fact, the blogosphere and internet media may well be those dictators downfall.

Thanks Time Magazine! You finally got ONE RIGHT!

I predict there will be lots of people blogging about this. Yeah I know it’s an easy shot but if Time can do it so can I.

How personal is too personal?

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Dave Taylor put up a great post last Friday asking When is a blog too personal?Great question and often discussed. Just like any topic in the blogosphere there are thousands of differing opinions. The obvious answer to the question is whenever the author feels it is. If you are comfortable telling the whole world including current and potential future employers, voters, in-laws, spouses, enemies, or anyone who wants to know personal things about your life then by all means go ahead.

It doesn’t take Dave long to answer the real question:

First off, I think it’s useful to differentiate between a personal blog, which is probably serving as a diary or journal, and a professional blog: in the former case, there really isn’t much question because you can’t really have a personal journal if you’re not being personal and writing about your life, your experiences and your thoughts.

If you’re blogging for business, however, it’s a different story…

Business blogging is a different story because your goal is to convey a certain level of expertise, credibility and, yes, professionalism, and that can be counter to the idea of being too personal.

If you are blogging for any sort of professional purpose you should seriously consider any personal information you post on your blog. Will it cost you customers or vendors perhaps? Does it help or hurt your business?

It is a pretty good rule to not post about politics or controversial social issues on your business related blog.

Now if you blog about politics, or social issues then you real life experience means something, it helps your readers understand how you came to that point of view.  If you write a parenting blog (as Dave does), then again personal experience comes into play and you are going to better connect with your readers if you give them a peak into your personal life.  I believe this is one of the advantages new media has over traditional media by the way.

Dave closes his post with another question and a very personal and sober reminder of why you shouldn’t expose too much about yourself on a blog:

Let me end with a question: how do you balance your personal and professional life in the online world? In chat rooms, on blogs, and even perhaps on your own weblog, do you talk about fights you’ve had with your partner, your religious beliefs, your political views, etc., or do you keep all that offline as best you can?

Me? Well, let’s just say I write a parenting blog but don’t even use the names of my kids. No kidding.

That is what a responsible parent should do imo.

If you want to post personal stuff about yourself on your blog that is your business. In fact you will most likely connect with some of your readers on a greater level than you would if you left your personal life completely out of your blogging. However when doing so always remember the intraweb is a very public place. You may have made lots of friends through your blog (as I have) but there are lots of bad people surfing the net and most likely your blog every day. Far beyond the business aspect of balancing personal vs. business content on your site, always put your family’s personal security first.

New York Times embraces new media

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Well sort of. Techcrunch and others are reporting that the NYT will now include links to Digg, Facebook, and Newsvine to all of their online stories. This will not include stories on their premium service.

Although you could always manually add The Times stories to news sharing sites such as Digg and Newsvine before, the capability to do it directly from the story means that The Times is paying attention to where its stories are shared, who reads them, and, more importantly, what they are saying about them.

Not a bad first step.

John Cook has some related news:

This didn’t make it in today’s story, but The NYTimes.com also is adding a new feature that allows readers to easily obtain permalinks. That’s gonna make life a lot easier for us bloggers, who have had to jump through hoops anytime they wanted to find a story link from The Times.

I hope this is true. I have linked to lots of times stories that go poof after a week or so.

Search Blogs Awards

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The Search Engine Journal has just opened nominations for the 2006 Search Blogs Awards.

Here are the catagories:

* Best SEO Blog
* Best SEM Blog
* Best Search Agency Resource Blog
* Best Link Building Blog
* Best Social Media Blog
* Best Search Engine Corporate Blog (owned by the search engines)
* Best Contextual Advertising Blog
* Best Affiliate Marketing Blog
* Best Search Engine Community/Forum Blog
* Best Web 2.0 Blog
* Best Search Linkbait of 2006

Blogging kills Front Page?

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/shrug:

IT’S BECOME obvious that FrontPage is going to be quietly dropped from the Beast of Redmond’s regular user orientated offerings – only to be replaced by professional design tools. Blogging sites are replacing personal Web sites for the average PC user.

Edelman's latest

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Edelman who hasn’t always nailed the nuances of acceptable social media practices has just introduced an online Social media press release tool.

Steve Rubel had this to say:

My colleague Phil Gomes has been hard at work redefining what a press release should look like in a two-way world. We launched our first iteration yesterday. It basically breaks down a press release into its core parts, leaving it up to you – the journalist (citizen or pro) – to decide how it should be put together. Most importantly, every press release gets feeds, tags, del.icio.us/digg buttons, trackbacks and comments.

If you take a look at the comments on our first release, you’ll notice that some of our harshest critics are there commenting. This is what the two-way world is all about. Put ideas out there and then engage the community in a conversation.

More important than how are their clients going to react to this is how is the blogosphere going to react. So far It seems mixed but on the positive side.
Deep Jive interests:

Now this template seems like a great cheat sheet if you were a PR guy who doesn’t know a thing about social media. Having said that, I think that the template, like all cheet sheets, are dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Quite frankly, it could be a disaster.

Webware:

The whole thing’s a good idea, but it doesn’t appear to be as well-executed as it could be: most noticeable for me was the fact that there’s a lot of whitespace and consequently a lot of scrolling involved. Nevertheless, there’s very little doubt that push-button, Web-based press release generators–whether StoryCrafter or some similar tool that’s yet to be created–certainly have a place in the world of rich media, social media, new media, or whatever you want to call it.

The Bivings Report:

Today Steve Rubel unveils Edelman’s take on the social news release, Storycrafter (note lots and lots of others are doing similar work). I like it. I’d rather get something like this than an old fashioned press release.

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