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March 2009

Blog World Expo Radio – Episode 1 From SXSW in Austin Texas

Author:

SXSW Interactive

Our show comes to you live from last Saturday at SXSW Interactive at the Techset Blogger Lounge presented by Windows Mobile.

Our guests on this show live from SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas:

Ewan Spence and his Twitter is @ewanspence
Wendy Piersall and her Twitter is @emom
Justin Levy and his Twitter is @justinlevy
Patti Serrano a caller and her Twitter is @iGrandma
Aaron Brazell who we all know as @technosailor

I want to definitely thank the folks at Windows Mobile and the Techset group for letting us have our show.  Special thanks to Stephanie Agresta and Brian Solis for allowing us to have the fun we had there.

Hopefully at Blog World and New Media Expo we can have as much fun!

Social Media Shrinks the Planet and Enlarges Our Lives

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Social Media has so many facets; it’s impossible to cover them all in any one blog post, or even any one BOOK.  Yes, we make friends online.  Yes, we run businesses online.  Yes, we ask and get advice online.  Yes, we make purchases online.  The list goes on and on.

For me, personally, one of the most awesome things the internet – and I hang out mostly in the Blogosphere and on Twitter – has to show and teach us is that this earth of ours is populated by real people, the vast majority of whom are very nice people.

Not only that: the internet makes us all better people by giving us living proof that even though people might be of different cultures, ethnicities, political stances, races, and any other category that might come to anyone’s mind, we all have something to give each other and teach each other and show each other that will enhance and enrich each other’s lives.

The Blogosphere also proves to us that people whose lifestyles are different from ours, even to the extreme, are really still just people who have more in common with us than either of us thinks.

By peeking through each other’s windows, via social media, we can see that we are all just, well, nice people with much to offer each other, different though our personal viewpoints on certain issues might be.  We make each other smarter and better and nicer by reading what other people have to say.

In our “real” lives, many of us don’t have the opportunity to meet people who are “different” from us.  In the Blogosphere, however, we are all sitting on each other’s sofas and there is much we are all learning from each other.

I think one of the main things we are all learning is that we really aren’t THAT different from each other, and that no matter what kind of opinions and occupations and lifestyles we might have,  we are all trying to make a living, have fun, raise children, deal with problems, pay bills, and deal with life.

I firmly believe that the more we know about each other – the more interaction we have with people – the more we will realize that we are all much more alike than we are different, and this is a very good thing indeed.

Twitter To Threaten U.S. Trials?

Author:

Twitter As services like Facebook and Twitter continue to dive deeper and deeper into our lives, it looks like there are some people out there that view the services as more of a threat than anyone previously believed.  The fact that they allow anyone, anywhere to get intimate and in-depth looks into someone else’s life is no secret about Twitter, it’s the reality that actually made the service so immediately popular.  Now, however, there are some slight concerns being raised, especially in the world of the U.S. Legal System.

That’s right, looks like so me people out there are a bit afraid that Twitter and Facebook, most specifically their ability to instantly and easily update everyone as to exactly what’s going on with a certain person, might be jeopardizing trials and legal events.  According to recent reports:

“The verdicts in two US trials are being appealed against because jurors made comments about them on social networking sites.  Defence lawyers in the two cases say postings by jurors on sites like Twitter and Facebook could be grounds for appeal.”

As you know, jurors are forbidden to discuss anything relating to the case anywhere outside the deliberation room.  By allowing Twitter and Facebook, they are able to interact directly with thousands and millions of people with the simple push of a few cell phone buttons.  Yikes.  The question is, how do we enable our court systems to work in the new world?  Traditionally they’ve been plagued with an inability to work with the “Wired World” and as we move further and further into new technology, new media and social networking, these problems will no doubt continue to surface.

The question is, how do we address it?  How can we ensure fair and impartial trials without taking technology completely out of the equation?  What do you think?  Sound off…

The Parenting Blogosphere: A REAL Reality Show in Progress

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bellezappa There are TONS of parents in the Blogosphere, and none of them knows everything about rearing children.

(One raises alfalfa; one rears children.  Semantics, semantics, semantics. . . .)

However, we all know SOMEthing about rearing children, and if you put all of the “somethings” together, we just might have everything.  Maybe.

It’s not just parents with young children who live in the Blogosphere, you know.  There are also older parents whose children are grown and gone, but these people are parents, nonetheless!  Often, these experienced parents are the missing link when it comes to the combined forces of the Blogosphere knowing “something” and knowing “everything!”

For someone like me, for example, with grown children and a shipload of experience but no takers in my real life, blogging about the joys and sorrows and delights and frustrations of raising children is a cathartic thing, with a lot of the bad memories miraculously and conveniently erased.  But to a young parent, some small thing I mention might make a world of difference!  I hope so, anyway.

This applies to many areas, of course, but parenting is the most important job in the world, so it is the one I am thinking about right now.

When my children were babies, and toddlers, and all the way on up to now, all I had to help me were pamphlets and relatives.  Much of what I learned from these very limited resources was viable, but so much more of it just, well, wasn’t.  It would have been wonderful to have, at my fingertips, a wealth of OTHER parents who were learning, as do we all, by trial and error, themselves.

Blogging parents will always have someone to ask, someone to tell, someone to admonish, someone to thank, and someone to fall back in abject horror at the very THOUGHT of being like that.  Often, a bad example is also the best example.

The Blogosphere.  Now, that’s a reality show I could go for.

P.S.  Those are MY children in the picture.  My beautiful, beautiful children.

Social Networks & Blogs Jump to 4th Most Popular Online Activity

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Remember the days when all you ever used your computer and internet connection for was to check your email?  Yeah, me too, and those days are officially over.  Move over email, make way for social networking and blogs because they’ve 100% entered the limelight.

New reports are showing that social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity, and that is ahead of email.  According to a new report by the Nielsen Company, titled “Global Faces and Networked Places:”

“Now visited by over two-thirds (67 percent) of the global* online population, “Member Communities,” which includes both social networks and blogs, has become the fourth most popular online category – ahead of personal email. It is growing twice as fast as any of the other four largest sectors (search, portals, PC software and email)…”

The report was actually filled with some interesting little tidbits, many of which were quite surprising.  You probably knew that Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking site, visited by 3 out of every 10 people across the 9 markets Nielsen studied, but as far as largest domestic use, it’s not the winner.  For the highest percentage of “domestic online reach” Orkut, out of Brazil, takes home the top prize with an impressive 70% reach.  Wow.

Check out some of the other findings:

–     ” One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites.
–      The social network and blogging audience is becoming more diverse in terms of age: the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 to “Member Community” Web sites globally came from the 35-49 year old age group (+11.3 million).
–      Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in social networking. Nielsen found UK mobile Web users have the greatest propensity to visit a social network through their handset, with 23 percent (2 million people) doing so, compared to 19 percent in the US (10.6 million people). These numbers are a big increase over last year – up 249 percent in the UK and 156 percent in the US.”

Still have doubts that social networking and blogs have hit the big time?  Yeah, didn’t think so.  You’re probably not surprised though, as Jane mentioned Friday, bloggers just Know.

REAL Bloggers KNOW. We Just. . . KNOW.

Author:

When I first started blogging back in 2004, a lot of others started right about the same time.  A lot of those people aren’t around any more, but those who are?  Most of them are my friends.  We’re friends for many reasons, and when I say that we are “friends,” what I am actually saying is that these people and I are. . . FRIENDS.  Yes, THAT kind of friend.  The real kind.

Why is that, you might ask, and well you might.  The answer is simple.

We are friends because we have something in common.  We KNOW what it is to be a blogger.

Real bloggers aren’t transients.  They don’t get all excited about starting to blog, write a couple of posts, get tired of it, and drop out.  REAL bloggers are here for the duration.  REAL bloggers love blogging so much, we’d rather sit at our computers and participate in blog-stuff than. . . well, than do almost anything else!  REAL bloggers have to watch the clock carefully, lest we ignore important real-life things.  However, REAL bloggers know how to do that!

Real bloggers go to conventions and meet each other.  Real bloggers sprinkle terms like “Twitter” and “Stumble” and “Jim Turner” in their casual conversations with each other.  Real bloggers shake their heads in pity when they encounter people who respond to perfectly legitimate questions like “What’s your Twit SN” with nothing but a blank stare.  I mean, what’s UP with those people?  Why don’t they KNOW?

Bloggers know that the Blogosphere is a real neighborhood; there’s nothing make-believe about it.  Bloggers know that the Blogosphere is inhabited by PEERS, and in the Blogosphere, peers don’t have to be the same age, or even the same generation.  If someone is a real blogger, he/she KNOWS.  Bloggers are peers.

Real bloggers don’t live in fantasy-land, online.  We have OTHER lives, too.  Usually, bloggers have very full and fulfilling lives both online and off.  It’s fantastic, really, the way real bloggers perceive the universe!

Bloggers’ children grow up in public.  The Blogosphere knows how everybody’s kids are doing in school, who won the spelling bee, who struck out in tee-ball, and who had a dental appointment yesterday afternoon.  Bloggers sympathize, and congratulate, and remember birthdays.  Bloggers are people who show up for school conferences, and pack wholesome lunches for their kids, and aren’t easily taken in by advertisements and scams.  Bloggers, on the whole, are definitely above-average people.

There are new bloggers every day, and I welcome them with open arms.  However, it’s the bloggers who are in it for the long haul, who will STILL be blogging five years from now, and ten years, and twenty, who interest me the most.  I have a lot of friends in the Blogosphere, and I want them to stay. 

Then again, those whose hearts aren’t really into blogging probably aren’t comfortable in the Blogosphere anyway.  Some of them claim that they’d really like to blog, but they just don’t have time.  Sorry, but real bloggers don’t buy that excuse.  Real bloggers MAKE time.  Take a good look at the time-clock on most blog posts.  Does the term “night owl” ring a bell?

That’s because real bloggers KNOW.  We know.  And we love it.

Why Do Celebrities Twitter?

Author:

Twitter is huge.  You know it, I know it, heck even our grandparents probably know it.  With the recent news that even the Queen of England was Twittering, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the technology has officially come into its own.  The bottom line is, Twittering is huge and it’s getting even more huge as more and more celebrities are adopting the technology and Tweeting like crazy.  The question is, why?

In only 140 characters we are all being offered a much more intimate, much more in-depth and much more real look into the lives of these people that before only existed on screen or over the radio.  Now we know when they get massages, how they feel after losing a big game, what they think about politics, fast food, religion, and their love lives.

Why are celebrities doing this?  Simple, it’s fast, it’s easy, it’s social, it’s new media, and it lets their fans get closer than ever, without requiring a great deal of PR work, search engine optimization or even effort.  Anyone can send out a Tweet and if you’re MC Hammer, Shaq, Jimmy Fallon or Lance Armstrong each one of those tweets will be recieved by and followed by anywhere from a few thousand, to a few Hundred thousand people.  Instantly.

More insight?  The simple fact that Forbes is picking up on it and reporting on it should say quite a bit.  Head over and check out the article they did about why celebrities are turning away from old static websites and directly onto new social media and Twitter.  It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s intimate, what more can they ask for?

Do you Twitter?  Do you Follow celebrities on Twitter?  If so, who, and why?  We’d love to hear just who You find interesting, and whose Tweets you can’t live without.

Blogging: Not Just For The Young!

Author:

Not only am I a blogger, I’ve BEEN a blogger since April 2004;  I’m no newcomer!  If I may say so, I know whassup with the Blogosphere.  I have several hundred blogs in my blogrolls and readers.  Not only do I blog for myself, I blog for several clients as well.  I read everything I can find about blogging, the Blogosphere, Blog Conferences, and blogs in general, and while it is true that many bloggers are between 18 and 35, I will have to stand up and challenge anyone who claims that the Blogosphere is inhabited mostly by the young.  I know for a FACT that there are Blogosphere neighbors who are, shall we say,  more than just a little bit to the right of the age timeline median mark.

I know this because, not only am I one myself,  I know of definite OTHERS!  I’ve blogged with them, commented with them, MET them in Los Angeles and Chicago at BlogHer, talked with them on Skype and Google Chat and even the (remember this?) telephone! We’re on FaceBook and MySpace together, and we often exchange ideas on Linkedin and Twitter.  We Digg and Stumbleupon and Reddit, and we think social media is absolutely del.cio.us.  Some of us even know about (shhhh) Bit Torrent.

Yes, the Blogosphere is filled with young parents,  and young entrepreneurs, all sharing advice and information, but that same Blogosphere is also filled with older people whose children are grown and gone, and whose businesses are thriving, or were thriving – or not – who can offer invaluable advice to young parents and others who are now where older bloggers once were. The Blogosphere, like any neighborhood, is teeming with people who know, and people who need to know!  Online, we come together.  Online, we can meet and help each other in ways that just aren’t possible in our “other” lives.  No matter where we fall, chronologically, we all love to meet each other, and blog expos and blog conferences are some of our favorite things!

We older bloggers are not interested in Geritol, Assisted Living ads, denture adhesive, insurance, orthopoedic shoes, funeral directives, Depends, bland diets, and articles on how to entertain grandchildren.  I mean, we ARE, but mostly, we’re not.  Please, marketers, do not insult us with such assumptions or stereotyping!  Older bloggers are interested in the same Blogosphere “things” as everyone else:  where to find deals on SD cards,  funky forums, movies, books, laptops, HDTV, wireless digital picture frames, new cars, WordCamps, Amazon, eBay, cool recipes,  blog conferences ( a huge percentage of BlogHer participants were over 40!), cool electronics, fashion, the environment, crafts, education, and humor!

Blogs, blogging, blog conferences, and the Blogosphere itself are not inhabited by one age group only.  Like any interesting neighborhood, the Blogosphere has neighbors of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, personalities, and temperaments. 

The important thing is, to be a part of that Blogosphere!  There is definitely something for everybody there.

Blogging Is The New Prozac

Author:

Smile! Given the current status of the economy, the lingering winter in much of the country and soaring unemployment rates, the simple fact of the matter is, there are probably a great deal of unhappy people fluttering around this great Nation as of late.  What do we need to all get a little bit happier?  According to new reports, Blogging.

That’s right, blogging very well could be the new Prozac.  New research out of Taiwan is showing that when it comes to reports of general happiness, those that blog and keep up with some form of social media networking are just plain happier.  According to the research:

“[they] found support for deeper self-disclosure from bloggers resulting in a range of better social connections. These included things such as a sense of greater social integration, which is how connected we feel to society and our own community of friends and others; an increase in social bonding (our tightly knit, intimate relationships); and social bridging — increasing our connectedness with people who might be from outside of our typical social network…They also hypothesized and found support from their data that when these kinds of social connections increase or grow deeper through blogging, a person will also feel a greater subjective sense of well-being or happiness.”

Well I’ll be.  I always knew that blogging made ME feel better, and I’m sure a lot of you felt the same way, but now we have research on our side.  The bottom line is, in case you were ever wondering if blogging can make you feel more connected, can increase your social bonds, and can lead to a better mood, the simplest answer is…Yes.  Keep writing, keep blogging, keep connecting, your happiness will thank you.

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