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December 2009

Building Online Communities: Are We Preaching to the Choir?



A couple of weeks ago, I had a wonderful phone conversation with Mark Stelzner. Most of our discussion centered around the building and cultivating online communities. During our conversation, I suggested Mark, and anyone else who is building an online community, stop preaching to the choir.

You see, your community is already sold. They joined your Facebook group, they’re following you on Twitter, they’re rocking your Ning, they participate in blog and forum discussions, you had them at the hello. They want to be there for you. By all means, keep up the good communication, but don’t stop there.

It’s the people who aren’t feeling the love who you also need to reach. They’re the ones who you really need to reach out to.

Have you ever invited someone who speaks negatively about your brand or business to talk it out on the phone or over a cup of coffee? Not only might he provide you with valuable feedback, but he might also change his way of thinking.

Last year one of my clients and I discussed  arranging some Tweetups and Meetups for his community. I suggested he also reach out to the haters and those sitting on the fence. Again, feedback and maybe the ability to change their minds.

Why not invite some of the naysayers to your Meetups and events as well? Buy them a drink and talk about what you do, why they’re not feeling it, and how you can get them to drink your Kool-Aid. If you considered every person who views you in a negative light as an oppportunity rather than a hater, you’ll do what you can to change their opinion — instead of write them off as people who aren’t interested in doing business.

It’s fine to preach to the choir, but every now and then you need to walk down that aisle, past the congregation and see what’s going on at some of the other churches. You may find yourself with some converts.

Deb Ng is a professional blogger and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @debng.

TechZulu Talks BlogWorld & New Media Expo


Just wanted t get this interview on the blog as Amanda Coolong does a great job talking with Rick Calvert about the experience at BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

Watch Rick Calvert – BlogWorld Expo 09 in Tech & Gaming  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

I am hoping to get some of these interviews doen myself this year as we travel around to the events and talk with organizers, attendees and speakers at shows we are attending. Thanks to the folks at TechZulu and Amanda!

TechZulu Talks BlogWorld & New Media Expo


Just wanted t get this interview on the blog as Amanda Coolong does a great job talking with Rick Calvert about the experience at BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

Watch Rick Calvert – BlogWorld Expo 09 in Tech & Gaming  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

I am hoping to get some of these interviews doen myself this year as we travel around to the events and talk with organizers, attendees and speakers at shows we are attending. Thanks to the folks at TechZulu and Amanda!

Another Twitter During Conference Opinion


As I continue to hear about problems with Twitter and conferences I think I will make this something I will be asking all of our speakers about for 2010. I am thinking that Twitter will not be anywhere near our stages unless of course the speaker wants this to be a part of their presentation. Chris does a great job with his own conference in Seattle at Gnomedex.

Thanks for your opinion on this Chris. You can read Chris’ post and perhaps give him your thoughts as well. Should Twitter be banned at conferences on stage?

WordPress Updates With Carmen


The latest version of WordPress has been released per the WordPress blog and Matt Mullenweg.

I am most interested in some of the features they have updated or upgraded with reference to video and other media that is added to posts. The sooner they make it easier to put up a blog post the better. I have always asked when WordPress was going to develop its own desktop blog editor like Windows Live Writer or the many other blog editors available. I thought that a blog editor that can be used on the desktop and sync with your WordPress blog would be a benefit to the entire community.

Congratulations To Blog World Keynote Speaker Laura Fitton on Funding of oneforty.


Oneforty It was announced today that Laura Fitton, or as we all know her more appropriately as @pistachio, and her company oneforty.com received funding in the amount of $1.6M.  Those of you that attended BlogWorld & New Media Expo this year know that Laura was our opening keynote address for the Social Media Business Summit which was our first day of the entire event.  I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Laura for making us a part of her 2009 and also congratulate her on her success.  She is one of our people to watch in 2010 for certain and someone that I will be looking for to lead us in 2010.

Those that did not get an opportunity to watch or listen to the keynote given by Laura can see it over at MyContent.com.  Her talk was both inspiring and a good look at how she was able to succeed in her start-up!  Twitter has truly changed Laura’s life and now we can see how and why!

Facebook and Everyone Else


facebook I have been trying to figure out how to keep up with the social networks I have for BlogWorld & New Media Expo and my own personal networks.  I have always touted that I can drink from the social media firehose as well as anyone but I have been noticing recently that I am having a hard time with it.  I was going through my own networks and found that my Facebook friends are now joining me on my other networks and vice versa.  Meaning that the hose is getting bigger but at least the water amount stays the same to some extent.

It appears that event within  the back stage scenes that the networks themselves are getting smeared and merged with one another.  I was commenting to my wife that Plaxo’s interface looked somewhat like Facebook’s interface and I am not sure if I am commenting on a Facebook wall or to an email from Plaxo.  Now I see on TechCrunch that the CTO of Plaxo has ended up working with Facebook.  It is hard to keep not only the networks in focus but the lines have blurred with relation to the developers and the people behind the scenes.

In a world of networks everyone is clamoring for market share and it appears that the talent goes with the winner (or is it that the talent goes with the money?  It is a free agent type market these days).  With Facebook talking about an IPO and getting its latest round of funding they are making it difficult for the rest of the players to keep up.  We are seeing a situation of living in a Google World as I always say to living in a Facebook World.  It’s Facebook and then the rest.

Echo – Changing The Way Bloggers Communicate Through Comments


logo-jointherealtimeweb1 I was given the opportunity today to sit in a press conference briefing with the folks over at JS-Kit.com, or should I say Echo?  They have changed the name of the company from JS-Kit, one that I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around, to now just being Echo.  I myself like the change and I think it better represents the mission of the company.

We have yet to adopt any commenting system here on the Blog World blog but I think it may be time to look into allowing some real time comments and conversations to break out.  Once  of the benefits of Echo that was discussed in the call was the fact that “comments turn into a chat room and the conversations in the chat room are more interesting than the actual content.”

They tell us about Echo:

Echo is…

the next generation commenting system. It’s the way to share your content, and watch the live reaction. You can quickly embed Echo on WordPress, Blogger, or any website and turn your static pages into a real-time stream of diggs, tweets, comments and more.

Those of you that remember  Techcrunch’s Real Time Crunchup might remember how they stated boldly that comments were dead. I am not quite sure if death is the proper word but certainly given Twitter and other real time web applications, the way we communicate on blogs is changing.  Echo looks to be a leader in that change with its new system.  Echo will allow the publisher to manage the real time stream.  Where once we shouted “Content is King” and now we are shouting “Social Networks are King”, Echo allows for the balancing act to occur between the two.

Echo has some competition out there in the world with other commenting applications with the likes of IntenseDebate and Disqus and others, but they seem to get the idea that they have the ability to harness the power of conversations in this world of social media.  I look forward to what they will bring as new features and will keep a close eye on how they are changing our communication on blogs and how we as bloggers comment. They have some pretty big publishers with companies also like Technorati, Dow Jones and Hearst Media in the mix.

Women in the Blogosphere: More Than Mommy Bloggers


Rosie the Riveter

Back in my blogging heyday, various traffic seeking bloggers inevitably rolled out lists of the “Top Bloggers” for each particular year. Thrown in at the very bottom of these lists, almost as if added in as an afterthought, was the name of a woman or two.

Comments and blog posts ensued. “Where are the women?” they asked.

A flurry of “Top 25 Female Blogger” type posts cropped up in reaction, but no one cared much about them. The important lists were the ones listing Robert Scoble, Darren Rowse and Seth Godin. These lists always irked me. I hated that women were considered “female bloggers” instead of simply ” bloggers.”

As blogging evolved and more women began taking up residence in the social media space, I thought we were over a lot of the inadvertent sexism, but little things continue to happen that make me wonder if women are still perceived differently.

Let me throw out a couple of cases in point:

  • At SXSWi ’09, I attended a  “flash session” made up of community managers from brands such as Best Buy, Jet Blue and Crocs. It was a great and informative session, one of the highlights of the event. However, I wondered why there were no women on the panel. I knew of plenty of community managers from major brands who were attending SXSW – who also happened to be women -so why did the panel only include the guys?
  • AT Blogworld ’08, I attended the highly anticipated super session of “Make Money Online” bloggers including Darren Rowse, John Chow, Jeremy Shoemaker and Brian Clark. However, I wondered why there were no women on the panel. Were none asked?
  • I have been invited to sit in on “Mommy Blogger” panels at various online and offline events. I have a blog and I have a child. However, My child has nothing to do with my writing blog and vice versa. I don’t blog about time outs and dirty diapers, nor am I sponsored by green beans or laundry detergent. Yet, so many people consider me a mommy blogger because I am a mother with a blog. If this is the case, shouldn’t we refer to Brian Clark as a “daddy blogger?”
  • I was invited to be a part of an online radio panel featuring the “Divas of Social Media.” (I blogged about this on my own blog yesterday, so go ahead and skip this item if it’s something you heard before.) Why is it men are called “ninjas” or “gurus” while women are considered “divas” or “darlings.”

I’m not a card carrying member of any women’s liberation group, but that doesn’t mean these little things are any less irritating. As someone who has been blogging as long as some of the “gurus” it’s kind of a pet peeve to see testosterone-laden super sessions and lists of top bloggers. I’m pretty sure the organizers of these events aren’t setting out to disqualify women, but the fact that we don’t automatically come to mind isn’t any less disturbing.

Yesterday’s startling revelation that blogger James Chartrand is really a woman served to stimulate a very important dicussion topic. Is it easier for a man to find a job? Do we take men more seriously as experts?

Is there a glass ceiling in social media?

The other day, Read Write Web came out with a list of social media predictions for 2010.  Click to page two and scroll down a bit and you’ll find “Women will rule social media.”

I’m skeptical.

Will women rule social media because they are making a difference in the space? Or are we ruling social media because we’re the ones who purchase diapers and make the buying decisions as the RWW post hints? If so, we haven’t come very far at all.

What do you think? How are women perceived in the blogosphere and the social media space? Will we ever be seen as anything other than the darlings of the blogosphere?

Deb Ng is a professional blogger and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @debng.

Blog World Expo Radio – The Voice of Blog World Expo!


BlogWorldRadio_FINAL_opt250 At the event this year in Las Vegas we transferred over from Blog Talk Radio to WS Radio for our regularly scheduled radio show Blog World Expo Radio.  This was not because we wanted to leave Blog Talk Radio, we love the folks at Blog Talk Radio and they have been a participant at our event as an exhibitor and have helped us make our event successful.  We moved the show to get a different look, feel and sound to Blog World Expo Radio.

We have quite a few shows in the archive now and I wanted to touch on those and talk about what we will be doing in the future with the show.  Most recently we had on our show Wade Kwon who posted recently about his experience with BlogWorld & New Media Expo as a speaker.  We reached out to Wade and wanted to get him on our show so we could discuss his complaints and acknowledge those as well as talk about how we are going to make it a better experience.

We also introduced Patti Hosking, our new Director of Business Development.  Patti is not necessarily new but is someone that has been with the crew now since the beginning but has recently taken over the duties full time as the person in charge of exhibitors, and sponsors and other issues related to business development of the show.  You can reach Patti by email at Patti at blogworldexpo dot com.

Our last show we had some real rock stars in the world of social media, Maggie Fox, CEO and founder of SocialMediaGroup.com and Jason Falls, the founder of Social Media Explorer.  Jason was also our track leader for the Social Media Business Summit and was instrumental in how we made 2009 in the social media track awesome.  He was a large part of why that was so beneficial to attendees.  Maggie and Jason talk about some of the issues in the industry of events, and also talk about what we are seeing in the world of social media, and finally finish up with some thoughts into what we will see in 2010.  I think you should all get over and read their blogs and definitely get a chance to listen to the show once the archive is posted.

As we approach 2010 and our new show in October, we will be interviewing speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and many others.  We also plan to bring you live coverage from events like CES and SXSW and perhaps another show that is in your area.  If you want to be a guest on our show feel free to leave a comment and what you want to talk about.  We are going to have some cool guests in the future and you could be one of those.  Coming up in January we will have Richard Jalichandra, CEO of Technorati and we look forward to what Richard will tell us about the future of blogging and about his company Technorati.  Join me next week as we take a look back at 2009, what we did here at BlogWorld & New Media Expo and what we plan to do for 2010.

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