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June 2012

Is New Media Destroying the News? How the Obamacare Ruling Highlighted a Growing Problem in the Media

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Yesterday, several politicians tweeted in celebration that Obamacare (new and controversial health care law in the United States, for those of you who are living in other countries and not paying attention to U.S. news) was repealed. The problem? It was actually upheld by the Supreme Court, not found unconstitutional and repealed. Mashable actually has screenshots of tweets from six politician, and these mistakes were later deleted when the real news about the ruling came out.

But don’t be too hard on these Republicans, no matter what your political persuasion. It’s hard to blame individuals when several media outlets on both sides of the political spectrum, including CNN, Fox, Huffington Post, and TIME all got it wrong too.

This is a growing problem in the United States and around the world – and as much as I love social media, blogging, and other online content, I think it might be new media’s fault.

The Race is On

One of the reasons newspapers are failing is that news reported this day is delayed. I subscribe to The Washington Post, but I have to admit that I rarely read the actual news, except local stuff about arts problems and the like. Op-eds are interesting, but when it comes to straight news stories, almost everything printed in the paper is stuff I already read online the day before. Being so connected means that I see breaking news when it is happening, and I don’t even need to leave Twitter for this information in many cases.

The world of news reporting online is extremely fast, and this need to be first is permeating other news sources as well. Everyone wants to break a story, and you know longer have days or even hours to do that. You have minutes. Sometimes, you have seconds. If you want to be the first source, you have to be incredibly fast or someone will beat you to the punch.

I think that’s what happened here. News sources like Fox and Huffington Post are pressured to try to report on a major news story first, and when that happens, mistakes are going to be made. It’s inexcusable to put speed before quality, especially when it comes to reporting the news. I can forgive a typo or even incomplete information, but it’s a harder pill to swallow when a story is completely wrong simply because it was more important to report first in the hopes of being correct than it was to spend a few minutes doing some fact-checking.

This is certainly not a new problem, as even before the Internet became such an important news outlet there were people who put speed before quality. I am, of course, reminded of the famous Chicago Daily Tribune headline “Dewy Defeats Truman,” which was published in 1948 even though Truman was the real victor in that presidential race. But I think the fast pace of the new media world has made large factual mistakes more commonplace. If you aren’t quick to report on a story, a million no-name bloggers, tweeters, and would-be journalists are already talking about it, and you’re late to the conversation.

A Culture of Not Caring about the Facts

More alarmingly, I think the new media world has created this culture of putting opinions first and facts second. Look at the incorrect tweet issue, for example. A politician, no matter how powerful, is not a news source, so the pressure to be first, as media outlets like CNN might feel, is absent. But just because you don’t have this need to be the first in reporting the news doesn’t mean you don’t have an inner need to post your opinions immediately.

This is, in my opinion, something that has invaded our culture due to new media. We don’t give ourselves time to think. We have this internal feeling of bursting if we don’t tell you want we think right now. Facts be damned.

It’s a problem.

Although several media outlets got it wrong in their struggle to be first on this issue, plenty of sources got it right. Still, the politicians called out by Mashable weren’t the only ones who tweeted incorrectly about the situation. This tells me that one of two things happened:

  1. The tweet was queued up and ready to go as soon as the announcement was made.
  2. The person immediately tweeted after seeing one report about the “repeal” without doing any additional fact-checking.

But why? Why the need to voice an opinion about something so quickly that you barely give yourself time to skim an article about it? At least TIME has a business reasons for being wrong – they were trying to be competitive in their industry where being first matters. But why do we as individuals subconsciously put speed before quality when voicing an opinion?

It’s the same thing that drive people, sometimes 20+ comments deep, to type “FIRST!” on a post by a popular blogger. It’s the need to be important.

Being important feels good. I’ll go back to something comedian Jordan Cooper once shared with me. When you make someone laugh, you feel good, and that’s why humorous posts and videos often go viral. Because you don’t have to create a joke – you just have to be the first person to share the joke with a friend. When you tell someone a joke they’ve never heard before, you feel good, and  you feel important. The same thing is true of a news story. When you’re the first to voice your opinion, when a friend hears it from you first, you feel good, and you feel important.

Social media and blogging has made it hard to get this “fix” of feeling important. Before, you could say to your neighbor “I really don’t agree with the Obamacare ruling,” and they might say, “Oh really? Tell me why you think that.” Now, the answer might be something like, “Yeah, that’s what a lot of people on Facebook have been saying.”

If we don’t express our opinions quickly, our thunder is stolen. At least, that’s what it can feel like subconsciously (or even consciously).

The New Media Monster

So is new media destroying the news? Yes, in some ways, I think it is. We’re smack dab in the middle of a major media shift, and although there have been some definite improvements, the Internet is still an informational free-for-all. I don’t think this is a reason to dislike or avoid new media, but I do think that we all have to start taking more responsibility for what we say online so that we never let the egotistical feeling of wanting to be first overcome the duty we have to be correct.

The Best Way to Get More Podcast Listeners – and How to Do It

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Want to see your podcast traffic grow exponentially? Of course you do. Who doesn’t? It can feel like an uphill battle sometimes, especially if you’re new. When I used to be part of a video game podcast with some friends, we were happy to have any listeners and we talked about growth by the person, not by the hundreds or even the thousands.

But on certain episodes, we did something different, and this one technique always blew other traffic-driving techniques out of the water. We are certainly not the only podcasters to experience this massive surge in traffic. At BlogWorld New York 2012, in fact, the speakers on the Why All Bloggers Should be Podcasting panel covered this topic, and Derek Halpern took a moment to talk about how any podcaster can make it happen.

The panelists for "Why Bloggers Should be Podcasters"

So what’s the secret? Land a special guest for your podcast.

Easier said than done, right? Because we’re not just talking about any guest. If your neighbor is a special guest on your podcast, it’s likely that no one will care – unless your neighbor happens to be a leader in your niche. The best guests are popular among your listeners and will bring in new listeners who want to hear this specific speak (and who will also be interested in the rest of your content).

Landing those high-profile special guests isn’t easy, though. Someone like Chris Brogan, for example, gets hundreds of requests for interviews, appearances, and so forth. Catching the attention of Chris – or whoever is a leader in your niche – isn’t easy. And sometimes it is downright impossible.

The good news? You can make it happen if you’re persistent and follow these great tips from Derek:

  • Lead your request with what’s in it for them.

Most people like to help others, but when you get a huge volume of requests, you need to say yes to things that are going to help you as well. If I get 20 requests and only have time for 10 of them, I’m going to say yes to 1) requests from friends and 2) requests that highlight how my actions will be helpful to me. It’s business, baby. So, when you make a request for someone to be on your interview, talk about how being on your podcast will help them.

  • Reach out to people who love giving interviews.

In every niche, certain people rarely respond to interview requests, while others are extremely vocal. You’re going to be more successful if you do a little research and find out who is vocal so you can approach those people. For example, since I mentioned him already, Chris Brogan recently posted a resolution that he would go on a “summer diet” of sorts, and part of that includes saying no to interview and media requests so he can focus on his own projects and time away from work. So, sending Chris a request right now is probably not the smartest idea.

Some people are very private and almost always say no. For someone like Chris, the likelihood that he will say yes or no cycles. Right now, he’s taking a bit of a break. When he has a book to promote, I bet he’ll be out there giving interviews in full force. So, when looking for guests for your podcast, find people who are known for giving interviews and have something to promote.

  • Be fearless.

My favorite tip from Derek was to simple do it – make the request. You can spend your time worrying and wondering, but at the end of the day, if you never ask, you’ll never get that yes. Fellow panelist Katie Davis also chimed in, saying, “People are nice. People like to talk about themselves.[…]Your imagination plays tricks on you, but what’s the worst that could happen?”

Lastly, I think the panelists made a very good point that you don’t have to go for the superstar in your field. Instead, go for someone who is slightly more popular than you continuously and build your audience of listeners. When you have 1,000 fans, invite a guest that has 2,000 fans. When you have 2,000 fans, invite a guest who has 3,000 fans. Work you way up to landing those extremely popular guests in your niche and you’ll have more success along the way.

Did you know BlogWorld New York 2012 featured an entire podcasting track? If you missed it, you can check out all of our sessions with the virtual ticket!

A Glimpse of the Future Internet [Infographic]

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Earlier this week, I wrote about choosing an extension for your website, and .com remains the most popular option for a variety of reasons, other extensions (.net, .ly, .me, etc.) might also make sense depending on your specific needs.

The Internet is about to get a lot more complicated, though. The new global program to expand your choices is going to start rolling out as early as next year and there were nearly two thousand applications for vanity names submitted. Some major companies, like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft actually submitted multiple applications. Other companies, like Facebook, eBay, and Disney, were notably missing from the list of applicants.

So here’s a look at what is coming in an inforgraphic from Visual.ly. When new extensions are introduced, will you be on board or will you stick to buying .com addresses?

 

How Formulas Can Make You a Better Blogger

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“Frameworks end up producing style…What does this mean? It means you get more readers. There’s a big difference between readers and traffic.”

-Nate Riggs

As bloggers, we often shy away from advice that tells us to be systematic or formulaic in our writing. If you’re anything like me, you have a knee-jerk reaction to such advice – screaming in anger. We’re creators! We need to be free to create!

After all, we already see enough of that robotic stuff when tracking stats, formatting, and doing other blogging tasks, right?

But systematic doesn’t have to be evil. In fact, creating formulas can not only improve your writing, but it can also help you find that creativity we all crave as writers. Yes, I actually think formulas can make you a better blogger.

At BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2012, Nate Riggs (pictured at right) talked about mastering the list post, and he’s the person I blame for changing my mind about formulas. At the beginning of his presentation, Nate talked a bit about formulas and why they make sense for make bloggers. This information gem has already changed how I think about blogging, so today, I wanted to share the information with you.

Formulas as a Foundation

The most important concept to understand when it comes to writing in a formulaic way is that this is just a foundation. You need more to create a great post than simple a tired formula that bores your readers. However, a good formula (like a list post) is a strong foundation, and it can support experimentation. By having this “base” for a post, you can be more creative and know that you aren’t so far out of the box that it will confuse readers.

Formulas for Consistency

I’ve found that blogging consistently is one of the most influential factors on my stats. However, who among us hasn’t had weeks or even months when blogging seemed impossible? Life gets in the way sometimes, and writer’s block can make it impossible to come up topics, even with these three secret ways to find post ideas. Formulas make it a lot easier to blog consistency, no matter how busy you are or how uninspired you might be feeling. When you have a formula, you have a base for structuring your ideas, which makes consistency a lot easier.

Readers Love Formulas

Formulas can easily be equated to works like “boring” and “expected,” but that isn’t always the case. In fact, your readers might not even realize you’re using a formula unless you point it out. Formulas are formulas for a reason: they work. They’ve been honed to be inviting, memorable, and easy to read.

You don’t have to use a formula, list or otherwise, every time you write a post. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that formulas have no place at all on your blog. They can actually be quite helpful and make you a better writer, so explore this blogging option to create better content no matter what your niche.

Want to learn more about a specific type of formula, the list post? You can catch Nate’s full presentation with our virtual ticket, which also gives you access to all of the other sessions you may have missed at BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2012! Buy a virtual ticket here today!

Creating a Professional White Background for Your Videos

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Ever wonder how companies like Apple get that nice, white background on their videos? It looks really professional, so I always assumed that you need an expensively built professional studio to get this look. Not so! Today, I wanted to share this great video from Rapid Video Blogging‘s Gideon Shalwick, who explains how to get that clean white background that looks so great when filming a video.

And yes, he is doing this all in a messy garage!

Having a professional white background helps the view focus on what is most important – you, the subject of the video. It’s great for talking about a product/service or teaching someone how to do something because there are no distractions to take the attention away from you. And if you’re already creating videos, chances are good that you already have most of the supplies you need to make a white background possible.

Hope this video helps you create your next professional video!

Did you know that we had a complete three-day Web TV track at BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2012 that featured tons of great video creation tips? If you missed the event, you can catch up with all of the sessions, as well as sessions about blogging, podcasting, and social media, with our virtual ticket.

Top 7 Reasons to Speak at New Media Expo

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DSC_0405

Talk with anyone who’s spoken at one of our events and they’ll tell you the benefits of presenting at the world’s largest conference for bloggers, podcasters, Web TV producers, and social media innovators. But, in case you’re too busy to track them down, we’ve assembled the top seven reasons here for you. Remember, if you’d like to submit a speaker proposal, there’s still time.

1. Amplification of speaker’s reputation, authority, and profile in the industry

Presenting to the live, far-reaching audience who shares with millions of people is extremely powerful. Word gets around. Did you know attendees tweeting from our last event in Las Vegas made over 330 MILLION impressions in just 3 days? And that’s just Twitter, that statistic doesn’t include blog, Facebook, Google+, podcasts, or videos. This event is a great, big megaphone that can help speakers amplify their messages, brands, and reputations.

2. Meet the Press

Journalists cover this event from ABC, NBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Inc. and more, hoping to scoop other news sources on new ideas breaking at this big, industry event. It is a prime opportunity for speakers to make publicity opportunities happen.

3. New Business Leads

This conference has the unique benefit of putting speakers and their businesses face to face with their target markets. There is no amount of marketing in the world that can duplicate this quality interaction. Sharing a sharply-prepared educational session with succinct takeaways is better than a marketing pitch. It provides valuable insight that builds demand for a speaker’s knowledge beyond the event. Speakers frequently find new business opportunities from companies who’ve sent delegates to attend sessions. Furthermore, speakers often strengthen relationships and confidence with existing customers when they command a large and engaged audience at the conference.

4. Funding or Selling Your Company

Speakers have sold their blogs, businesses, and raised capital as a result of meeting attendees after their presentations at our past events. Investors have been known to come looking to acquire a company or media property with a certain expertise. Speakers sell companies and raise funding each year at this event.

5. Get Discovered and Hired

Companies are in attendance at our shows who may want to hire you for a better job than you have now. Our speakers get snapped up for new jobs every year. Speakers with bustling sessions who put out the word prior to the event frequently get the largest crowds—and the biggest opportunities.

6. Get a Book Deal

At every event, publishers are in the session audiences, looking for the industry’s brightest minds. And guess what happens? Our event speakers get book deals. No kidding. The publishers know the highest caliber new media and social media minds on the planet present at this conference, so they look for the most popular, packed sessions, and they sit in and watch those speakers. Every show, new book deals happen. (And we’ll set up a book signing at the next New Media Expo conference when your book comes out!)

7. Help the Industry Grow and Content Creators Succeed

This event started back in 2006 as the place where we could all learn how to make better online content, grow our audiences, and monetize in sustainable ways. This is the place where the new media industry is thriving, growing, and it was built for all of us. This is where we come together as an industry; where we succeed together.

If you’ve ever attended one of our events, you know the power of our conferences. And, if you’re looking to get up on stage, there’s no better time to throw you hat into the ring than now. Fill out a speaker submission form today!

Is a .com the Best Choice for Your Website?

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Whether you’re a blogger, a podcaster, a web TV producer, or a business, you probably have your own website. Or, at the very least, are interested in getting your own domain name so you have have a website. For most people, tons of thought goes into choosing your domain name. One of the elements you definitely need to think about is the extension (.com, .net, .org, etc.).

Novel names are coming as soon as next year, reports the BBC. But today, you already have several choices, including not only some of the more commonly used choices, but also options such as .me, .es, and .in to name a few.

Why .com Domain Names Rock

There are a lot of compelling arguments out there for purchasing a .com domain name over any other type of domain. At the end of the day, this is the most common type of domain name for a reason. Here are some of the biggest advantages to choosing a .com for your website:

  • People can most easily remember .com since it is so common.
  • When people do not know, .com is the thing they most common type in the address bar.
  • You can often more easily sell a .com name (if you want to do this someday).

But .com domain names are not going to rule forever, and already we see quite popular sites using different names, especially when the extension makes sense with the rest of the domain name. A good example is Visual.ly, which uses the .ly extension.

An Argument for Other Extensions

While .com makes sense for many, other extensions should be considered for your website as well. At BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2012, I had the chance to talk to the folks at .ME, and there are some very compelling reasons to choose this extension (or another non-.com extension):

  • Chances are pretty good that the .com domain name you want is already taken.
  • You can do a play on words. Some .me success stories include About.me, Call.me, and the ever-popular Formspring.me.
  • Having something other than .com as your extension can make your domain name memorable.

A slightly shorter extension (three characters instead of two, like is possible with .me and others like .ly and .co) is also better if you’ll be using the domain name as a link shortener. For example, Facebook uses fb.me. Every character counts!

The Bottom Line

So should you go for a .com or choose a more unique extension? There’s no right or wrong answer to that question. For some website owners, the best choice is .com hands down, but for others, .me or another extension might make more sense. If you’re in the process of choosing a domain name for your next website, don’t rule out non-.com choices.

Check out .ME for more information about why this type of extension might be right for you!

Readers are Speed Dating Your Blog: How To Land that Second Date

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I’ve never done speed dating, but I’ve seen it done often enough to understand how it works: you have two or three minutes to talk to another single before a bell rings and you both move on. You meet several people during the course of the event and write down the names of the people you like best so you can connect in the future.

Speed dating is all about making snap decisions about people and relying on your instincts. And believe it or not, that can lead to a lot of dating success. Judging people so quickly might seem harsh, but being forced to focus on what’s important to you can help you instantly identify people who really might be right for you. This certainly isn’t the dating scenario that’s best of everyone, but it has its advantages.

As a blogger, you’re going to be propelled into the same situation. Readers actually have a fairly long attention span if they like your content – but they make the choice about whether or not they like your content in just a few seconds. If you aren’t good at “speed dating,” they fairly quickly move on to the next blog.

So what can you do?

Looks Matter

You don’t have the be the hottest person in the room to get a date, but you do have to care about your looks at least a little. Nobody wants to date a slob who hasn’t showered in weeks. If you put on a little lip gloss, you’ll make a much better first impression.

Online, the same is true: looks matter. Your design doesn’t have to be flashy and expensive, but it does have to be clean and pleasing to the eye. Give some thought to your design, especially anything “above the fold” (anything you can see without scrolling). If you aren’t a design maven, don’t worry. No matter what blog platform you use, there are plenty of free themes you can use out of the box and even more themes you can use if you’re willing to spend a little money. This list is a great place to start when looking for a WordPress theme, and you can find some great Blogger templates here.

Be Yourself

There’s a great line in Disney’s Aladdin where the genie turns into a bumblebee to try to convince the title character to “beeeee” himself. Puns aside, it’s really good advice in most areas of life.

The fact of the matter is that people come to your blog because they like getting information from you. So let you shine through in every word you write. This does not mean you have to be super personal on your blog. Being objective, formal, and informational, is certainly a legitimate blogging style. But what is important is that you are consistent and every sentence reflects the style. You want readers to understand what your blog is about as soon as they start reading. If you try to be too general and appeal to everyone, you’ll only be boring, which is a good way to ensure you never get that “second date.”

You will lose some readers this way. Not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay, though. As long as you are yourself from the start, you will attract your people, the people who really are going to connect with the things you write. These are the people who will really become fans.

Treat Every Post as the Most Important One You’ve Ever Written

When you have just a short time to spend with someone while speed dating, every word you say is being judged. If you’re boring or talking about topics that don’t interest me, I’m probably not going to want that second date. Likewise, on your blog, new readers are not going to tolerate boring or uninteresting posts.

We all have bad blogging days, and we’ve all written posts that are kind of “meh.” It happens. But keep in mind that every post you write could be the very first post someone reads on your blog. If a post doesn’t represent your blog well, don’t publish it.

The Second Date

Remember, just because there’s a second date doesn’t mean there will be a third. Ultimately, you want your readers to “marry” you – subscribe to your blog and become loyal fans, not just semi-regular readers. So focus on long-term design, consistency, and post quality if you want readers to put a ring on your finger.

28 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Guest Posts

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Brilliant Bloggers is a bi-weekly series here at NMX where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every other week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Guest Posts

Guests posts can be part of your strategy to build your audience and get links pointing back to your blog. However, it isn’t as easy as just penning a post and sending it off to your favorite blogger for posting if you want to reap the most benefits from guest posting. Here on the NMX blog, we wrote a five-part series about guest posts, which starts here, but today’s Brilliant Bloggers is all about guest posts – and we have tons of links to other resources about guest posting.

Brilliant Blogger of the Week:

Guest Posting Like A God (Or Goddess!): 3 Experts Show You How It’s Really Done by Gregory Ciotti

In this post, Greg Ciotti talks to three guest posting experts: Danny Iny, Onibalusi Bamidele, and Georgina Laidlaw. You might be familiar with both Danny’s and Onibalusi’s names, as these guys have written hundreds of guests posts. Georgina gives a third perspective as the keeper of the schedule at Problogger.net, which features several guest posters every week. So, before you start doing this yourself, see what these experts in the field have to say about the art of guest posting. After checking out the post, you can follow Greg on Twitter at @GregoryCiotti.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about guest blogging? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Brilliant Blogger Topic: SEO

I’d love to include a link to your post in our next installment– and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Goodbye BlogWorld TV – Hello NMX TV!

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Podcast Session

This is the post-apocalyptic episode where we talk about BlogWorld & New Media Expo – New York. This is also a goodbye to the BlogWorld name, and hello to the new name – New Media Expo. With that, I, your host Jeffrey Powers, say goodbye to BlogWorld TV, and hello to NMX TV – the newest place for happenings at New Media Expo.

BlogWorld – New York

In this episode, I go over the Virtual Ticket. If you missed any of the sessions, I’ll give you the info you need to get the ticket! BlogWorld’s Virtual Ticket includes the audio from sessions in New York, along with video of the slides. You can hear the discussions that were had in New York, and learn all about your passions in blogging, podcasting, Web TV, and more!

I also talk about the new hashtag. In talking about New York, we use #BWENY. HOWEVER, from this point forward, the hashtag for all our events and news is #NMX. Still, there is a lot of #BWENY discussion happening on Twitter. Including a great article: 6 Secrets to Launching a Successful Kickstarter.

Podcast Session Room

The People at BlogWorld & New Media Expo

I grabbed random faces from the crowd while in New York. I asked them simply what their takeaways were. Diana Katche, Shari Simpson, and Mark Ensign give us some great information about what they learned at BlogWorld.

Goodbye, BlogWorld TV

With that, we say goodbye to BlogWorld TV. Next week, I unveil the new show: NMX TV!

What’s New on the NMX Blog:

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