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Web 2.0 Expo

Is PR still relevant? Dead or mortally wounded?


PR 2.0?  Huh?  The evolution of PR practices to the Web 2.0 world … is it real?  Are they kidding?

So what is this new PR … Jeremy made the point that PR hasn’t changed pre se, but it’s how it’s done.  All the panelists are talking about engaging people, being a part of the conversation and listening.

PR 2.0 dead?  I didn’t even know it was alive in the first place.  Jeremy is bang on I think … yeah PR has to adapt to new consumer patterns and technologies, but really you’re just trying to tell your story.  It’s just learning to do it better.  I think at its core, PR has always been around.  People always want their stories to be heard and past on.  So how to do keep the story and the transmission medium in step.  You adapt.

Hmm, must less control and much more to manage.  Very true.  I think the whole pace and scale of information is a challenge for any one to keep on top of things.

Blogs aren’t completely mainstream so traditional media still matters.  Which is true, this is a pragmatic realism.  There are tons of people who really only do e-mail and maybe look at a few sites online.  So to say that only blogs matter is as foolish as saying only traditional media matters.

Bad content (release or post) … still doesn’t get coverage now any more like it did in the past.

Is a post on Scobleizer better than a Mossberg article in the WSJ?  Maybe for some companies, but you can’t discount the established people who can connect you to others.  It’s the audience and channel that is the guiding factor.

Just because it’s new, doesn’t mean it’s right (not all clients need Twitter or should be on MySpace).

Yes, press release isn’t dead, it’s just changing.  To reach bloggers, to send or not to send?  I like them sometimes for the quotes and background, I guess you ask first.  I just hate having PR people contact me out of the blue and expect me to write about their client, when I don’t know them or the client.  Look, I listen to my friends.  They get an automatic shot.  Haven’t heard of you before?  Well, trying to get me to blog about your launch on launch day, not good timing.  Take a little time to learn about me, what my interests are, etc.  While I might not be considered a journalist by some (I think of myself as a nouveau journalist), you do need the same kind of relationship you have with your traditional media folks.

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RSS and Marketing


When you know 3/4 of the folks speaking at a session … you know you have to be there and you know that it should be fun.  I’m here in the RSS and Marketing session.  Niall is doing his intro, but I wish he had polled the audience to get the user level.  That said is it pretty comfortable at the podium.


Niall Kennedy, Principal, Hat Trick Media
Bill Flitter, Founder and VP of Marketing, Pheedo
Don Loeb, FeedBurner
Stephan M. Spencer, Founder and President, Netconcepts

Don did his intro and Bill is doing his now.  Interesting that these two competitors are sitting next to each other!

Bill is talking about his new product, which I happen to have tried for one of my other blogs.  It’s called the FeedPowered Platform.

Stephan dude!  Slow down!  Okay we have full-text feeds, multiple feeds, category feeds, optimize blogs, tags, internal tags, optimized title tags (WP plugin).  Whew.  Stephan says just to e-mail him to get the presentation (hey man what about a flash thing or something!).  Oh and his daughter makes $20 a day through Adsense via her blog!

Don is making the key point here … just blogging isn’t enough, you need to be out there, tracking mentions, finding links, and comments.  Then you need to leave comments contributing to the community.  I’ve seen this first hand with not only Feedburner (I love em, use them for all my blogs) but many other companies.

Stephan is talking about making sure you have tag pages, tag clouds, related tags because while blogs are search engine friendly they aren’t search engine optimized.  Looks like I’ll have to get these on some (all?) of my blogs.

Don: E-mail and RSS are complementary.  Yes, RSS you should be able to get feed content in e-mail if that’s what you want.  Of course, e-mail is just not a great way to deal with content you really want to read.  Look … try Google Reader if you’re not using RSS.  It’s easy, it’s free, and you can manage the info flow better.

Of course with RSS (and blogs) you need to post often with relevant, recent content.  Good idea for moving your e-mail mailing list to RSS: email each group (AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, etc) and let them know they can add you content to the My Yahoo, etc page.

I also know that FeedBlitz allows you to import an e-mail list into their RSS to e-mail solution.  The key is trying to wean people away from e-mail as an info source.

Ooh the partial vs full text debate … I’m wondering if I should speak up?  Bill says his data on partial text feeds don’t have high click through rates.  Don … when people are looking for content they are looking for all of the content.  Even with full text, people will click through to comment (I do it do be able to blog it).  Generally MSM and other media companies do partial, bloggers, full (well I don’t know about that).  Stephan does make an excellent point that with full text Google and other engines can index the links out and related tags and keywords in the whole post vs just a bit.

Okay measurement … that’s still a tough one.  I haven’t tried Pheedo’s solution, but I do use FeedBurner.  RSS metrics is still in its infancy.  Essentially I use FeedBurner and look at their metrics.  I don’t take them as gospel, I take them as a barometer.  Then you look at the comments, links in, look at what keywords people are using to find you.

When people consume RSS through something like MyYahoo … they often don’t realize they are consuming RSS. Just make it easy and don’t say it’s RSS!

My chat with Vidoop


 Yesterday in the Launch Pad portion of the keynote the startup Vidoop made their pitch for why they have a better way to deal with password … don’t have them!  Okay this isn’t entirely accurate, but really what is going on here is that we all have a ton of different passwords.  Heck we also have a ton of different user ids as well.  So Vidoop is part of the larger OpenID movement, which really hadn’t hit my radar until this conference.  Okay I knew about it, but hadn’t really done anything to learn more about it.

Regardless, the premise is, if you don’t already know, is that your ID becomes a URL and that is tied to your information and that is passed onto participating sites as you login credentials.  WordPress.com and Netscape.com both support it, Digg is supposed to but I didn’t see it when I just went there.  Okay, yeah so now I have a freakn’ URL to remember and a password!  How is this better?  Well it’s supposed to (eventually) give you only one thing to remember.  Where does Vidoop fit in then?  Well they are taking the concept and process to another level, they are taking passwords out of the picture.

Here’s how it works.  You sign up with them (they are in private beta now, but the president of Vidoop, Luke Sontag said you can request a code to get in), and after picking your ID you don’t set a password, you pick categories for a grid of pictures.  Like planes, trains, and automobiles … you pick a picture of a plane, a train, and a car … you got it.

Here’s the cool park, when you need to enter your password you see this grid of pictures with a letter on each one.  You type in the letter that’s on the pictures of your categories.  The best part … next time all the letters are different!  Your password can’t be sniffed, because if the hack tries it he only has these three letters … but he doesn’t know what your categories are.  So, sure enter those letters, doesn’t matter chances that they match up is slim to none.  Oh and if you think someone has guess your categories, you can lock your account down and change the categories … heck even then that would be tough because each computer that you use has to be authenticated to be able to even try to login!

Yes, this is revolutionary.  Business model is interesting.  They allow companies to “sponsor” the pictures (right now SmartCar has the cars and a pizza chain has food). and then they sell their solution to companies as well (license really).

I over heard Luke talking a about maybe a VPN solution for later this year … ooh maybe a free VPN for when you’re using free WiFi maybe?  Man I’d be there!

Of course Vidoop’s challenge is going to be uptake.  More sites need to sign onto OpenID (I’d love a WP plugin for my blogs … it would save me so many headaches) to be effective.

Frankly … this is an amazing solution and I’m looking forward to trying it more.


The new Topix, taking on local


Okay ad revenue is there, but the content on a local basis isn’t.  Of course.  They started with the traditional online news sources.  Okay, then look at bloggers.  And the point is there … bloggers don’t usually cover real local news (I don’t go to the local RCMP station to see when Pender’s been up to lately … heck I don’t even write about much at all).

So as a little test, I decided to check Victoria, BC (since I’ll be moving there soon)…you know it’s pretty good.  I’m going to have to look at this more.  This could really change how we consume news.  Okay Pender is kinda thin … not unexpected.  There are only 2000 people there!  But … they did get the news about our local cable co getting acquired.

This really is something to watch.


Wednesday Keynote part 1: John Battelle and Jeff Weiner


What is the network division at Yahoo all about … they pretty much connect everything.

So … John asks … what about it appearance that Google is running circles around Yahoo.  Jeff says that Panama is doing well … okay … expected.

So Jeff is spinning that Yahoo isn’t passe, Google isn’t lapping them … fine.  Great Yahoo Pipes was cool for a bit (I haven’t played with it for months).  But I really only use Flickr and MyBlogLog (sorta) and sometimes del.icio.us.  Yahoo Messenger?  Not anymore.  My Yahoo e-mail?  Long abandoned.

Really as much as I like the Yahoo guys who I’ve met and I know, I think Google is lapping them for the eyeballs and attention of the web.

So is it just our perception that Yahoo is behind the curve, because Jeff claims that Yahoo properties are number one in many verticals, or is Jeff just spinning us?

Look this hasn’t been an interesting discussion at all.  No real meat, lots of defensive postures.  No new announcements.  Heck the keynote room is maybe a half to a third full.  So are people losing interest or is it just too freakin’ early to think?

Okay decent question … is there pressure to purchase something (big) … Jeff, no, just doing things right.  Sorry, bad answer.  There is pressure in my mind for Yahoo to do something big and cool soon. 

Okay, why is Jeff spending so much time spouting stats on Yahoo properties to prove their cool?

John … Microsoft…what’s your take on them?  Are you going to merge? LOL!  Okay … when Tweets are more interesting than that answer … that’s not a good sign.

Maybe on the third day of a conference I’m just too tired and cranky … or maybe I’ve gotten jaded.

Still looking forward to Ross Mayfield coming up.

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Viral marketing, yes it can be related to disease


How can a session with the title What I Learned from Syphilis- Epidemiology & Viral Marketing not peak your interest?  David Hornik is starting off, and I’d like to say first that thus far … he’s got my attention.  A good speaker and interesting.  Lots of slides .. but it’s a good thing in this case.  It’s like he’s the straightman for his slides.

PR vs Marketing … PR free, but no control.  Marketing costs, but you have control.  Viral marketing matters … free with control.  Hmm, marketing nirvana?  Fuel of Web 2.0, he says.

Okay … let’s start getting into the icky stuff .. syphilis.  What is it about viruses that make them what they are … and why does the analogy work?  “Good” viruses are:

  • Highly communicable
  • Uses social conventions
  • Prey on vulnerabilities — not all orifices are created equal.  Viruses best friends (in order) handshakes, sex, drugs, food prep (well might have to put my science hat on here soon)Microsoft is the internet’s Rectum.  Big target, there are lots of vulnerabilities.  Firefox is the oral cavity (it’s harder to transmit).  Plugins are a risk.  No matter what.
  • go where the people are
  • silent but deadly
  • hard to or impossible to remove

Viral example … internet enabled gaming … Xbox Live … World of Warcraft … those online quizzes …

Yes… Ebola virus … virulent, communicable … but it kills everyone really fast (and ugly).  On the other side a pandemic flu.  Very true.

Plaxo … bad for a while, then got worse.  LinkedIn figured it out.  Browsing companions … they died out because they were annoying and a problem.

For a virus to continue, it must evolve and adapt.  Otherwise it can’t continue to spread.  The flu, the cold, even HIV.  So in the web 2.0 world, widgets, adaptation, new features, etc.

Something that stays in the background, or you don’t know you have it, and takes a long time to kill you (or never does…eg herpes).


Live Streaming conferences–good or bad for business?


Web 2.0 Expo has been one of the first conferences where live streaming (or livecasting) became easy.  Yes, it’s been done before, but the gear was huge.  Now folks like Jeremiah and Scoble can tote the stuff around in their laptop bags.  The next question is, is this a bad thing for conferences?  Let’s start with Jeremiah’s post on it:

I asked in the chat room during the live stream if hurt or helped Tim O’Reilly by me streaming the conference. For a lot of folks, paying $1500 is certainly expensive to attend (I think that’s the cost, I’m not sure) when you add in airfare and hotel and other travel bills, going to conferences can sure add up.

There were 30-50 people that were on the live cast at any given time, and I’m sure it will be more tommorow. Folks recorded it and put it on Google Video in near-real time, so the event was casted live. For those folks that were not able to attend, did this help or hurt the conference organizers?

I say help, the buzz and reach that the speakers and sessions got from this live streaming helped to carry it farther.
Source: Web Strategy by Jeremiah » Live Streaming at Web 2.0 Expo (Does this Help or Hurt Conferences?)

I agree with this completely.  Look no matter what some people just can’t make it to conferences, even the ones they really want to go to.  Jim was watching a session that I chose not to go to live via Jeremiah’s feed.  Of course this then could allow people who are at the conference to enjoy multiple sessions at once (wouldn’t that make live conference blogging fun!).

From a business standpoint I don’t think conference organizers have anything to worry about.  People will still want to come to conferences to meet, greet, and network.  What about having people stream sessions and then sell that space to sponsors?  Make the feeds free to view, but of course sponsors can get their messages in.

Seems like a no brainer to me!


P2P session


Eric Marcoullier of MyBlogLog … why can’t you take your friends with you around the net? Build communities around your site without even needing to go to MyBlogLog (hmm, would Yahoo like that?).

Kiva … allowing micropayments and microfinancing for the Third World. It’s not a donation, it’s a loan that you get back (return? Or does that even matter?)

Question to Kiva… how do you maintain enthusiasm? It’s about keeping people engaged and having fun. Also noted they’d like to be able to have interest rates float too. A bidding war to help others, now that’s a concept that I can get behind!

Mimint … free online Quicken. That isn’t about people getitng enaged and having fun and coming all the time; it’s your money!

MyBlogLog stats … not all the time because stats get old. Well, I like my signal and noise … I guess that I can just filter out the noise instinctually.

Web 1.0 is prison … yeah get you there and keep you there. Web 2.0 is … well that’s still being defined isn’t it?

Search is still working on the semantic web …Eric’s example when you search for “bush” are you looking for plants, a president, or porn … good point! Now we handle that via expanding the term with other related terms, but should we have to? Is there a better way? Well of course not yet. But…

Past fifteen years … investing in the networks, next 15 P2P … yes. I think that P2P has huge potential for the future, and no one really doesn’t know what it’s going to look like yet.

And that’s all she wrote …

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Sitting on the floor for the 1.0 to 2.0 philosophies talk


Man, I shouldn’t have taken such a long brain break!  So I’m sitting on the floor.  There are free seats, but they are in the middle of rows.  Ugh.  Basic intros right now …

Moving from 1.0 to 2.0- Philosophies and Structures for Change …

First panel question: What do you think of when you think of Web 2.0 …

Designers and engineers as natural disrupters.  Totally.  You always try to push and do things better.

Jeremiah … on Hitachi.  Ask for permission rather than forgiveness.

Lionel Menchaca of Dell … IdeaStorm, letting the userbase suggest idea.  Common ones bubble to the top.  Then these get reviewed and vetted every week.  One of the big things to come out of it: Users want Linux on their machines.  There is a business case.  Users want machines with Linux on them at shipping.  Talk about a 2.0 move forward.  A big company listening.

What’s different now that the standard marketing message?  Loss of control.  Totally.  Either ride the wave or drown.  Less control, and allow it to happen, you gain credibility.  Yes.  True.  Engage, discuss, invite the outside in … then you get people who might even be able to learn something to make your business better.

Wow I had no idea that Dell blogged the whole battery debacle and used tags to track the conversations! That’s involved!

Jeremiah, you’ll have to be an educator, evangelist, within a company to help nurture the process along.  Which is very true, as is Jeremiah’s statement that often evangelists don’t get followers so you have to look behind to (to make sure you’re just not walking along talking to yourself).  Perfect analogy and quote.

To have a successful revolution, you need a genius, a supporter of the genius, and someone who can explain it all.  Kind of like Jim and I.  Sometimes he needs to translate what I’m saying into “normal person” language.  Well.  It doesn’t happen often, but it’s true.  And I’m not saying I’m the genius, but it is true, often the people who think the amazing deep thoughts, aren’t easily understood.

Ah the sociology of language … again it’s the explanation of something and the words used are key to acceptance and adoption.  Okay maybe that’s extreme, but anyway, chew on that for a bit.

Jeffrey Veen of Google … the challenge of getting people who have time to work on it.  And, related to above, how you frame an idea is very important to how it will be accepted by a given group (finance, corporate, techies).

Technology is not a solution to all problems, but…

How do you get attention … when stuff is so cheap?  Yeah … you sneak it in!  Then the downside is that you can have a fragmented infrastructure.

As a sum up, this was an interesting panel with some good perspectives on the whole transitions within big companies.  Ah the fragmented evolution idea … innovation occurs in fits, starts, and spikes.  One little thing can spark tons of amazing ideas and new ways of working and doing.  My own thought on this is also don’t be afraid of your users using your product in a new way that you haven’t thought of before!

Just a little update here.  The BLaugh cartoon just fits with this post … you’ll understand:

Michael Dell Looks Different in a Tux


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