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America’s Tweethearts Story In Vanity Fair Is Good For New Media


While attending Affiliate Summit West earlier this week Joe Morin asked me if I had read the new Vanity Fair article America’s Tweethearts or Social Media Insider’s reaction to it.  I hadn’t yet but Joe sent me a link to both and after reading them I  of course have some comments.

I liked both the article and the post. Yes the author Vanessa Grigoriadis comes across as clueless to the real benefits of social media and according to one of the comments at Social Media Insider has written this kind of article before. So what?

It’s a valid story. These women (Julia Roy, Sarah Evans, Stefanie Michaels, Amy Jo Martin, Sarah Austin and Felicia Day) deserve the recognition. Despite the reporters snarky tone, Stefanie, Sarah (Austin) and Felicia are in fact entertainers/celebrities intentionally. Good for them! Twitter helps promote their careers and the article is pretty significant evidence of that fact. I don’t think Julia, Amy Jo and Sara (Evans) are complaining about the publicity and how it can and will help their careers either.

Vanity Fair has over a million paid subscribers (thats the latest info I can find) and I am guessing a majority of those readers haven’t tuned into Twitter or social media yet.  No matter what the story says that’s good for all of us folks.

And by the way look what the article did not just for us but to us, people are posting and tweeting all over the place about this story (1645 retweets at the time I post this). Everyone is talking about why its good, and why its bad, how Ms. Grigoriadis is clueless, and how these women are being exploited, or how others deserved to be featured in this article. Welcome to social media folks.

It’s a beautiful thing and regardless of the reporter’s or Vanity Fair’s intent they just advanced our new media revolution a little bit further.

Congratulations to six very deserving women and to all of us.

Am I Crazy? Is this story somehow bad for us?

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.

Are Keynotes and Twitter A Bad Match?


I have been reading about a situation at Web 2.0 Expo that has me as an organizer of speakers a bit befuddled.  Danah Boyd’s presentation took a turn for the worst and it turned out to be a bad experience for her and for the attendees. For the long story short version you can see a recap of what I am talking about over at Maggie Fox’s blog.  She talks about the wisdom of crowds and how people can be rude and completely out of character.  I have seen this happen in other areas and the idea that people act differently online than they do in real life is another post for another time.  What I am interested in from the mechanical side of things is whether the Twitter stream itself is a bad idea for presentations.

This year at BlogWorld & New Media Expo we had some of our own keynotes with the Twitter stream behind the speaker.  You can see some snippets on YouTube of Leo Laporte by Mediafly.

As you can see the Twitter stream was active and going on during the session.  Leo did a great job with his discussion, but what would have happened had he been attacked during the presentation by people that did not like what he had to say or how he said it?  Leo has been doing this a while and would probably take the heckling with a grain of salt, but that does not seem to be the case at all times with other speakers.  I watched as another speaker was lambasted during his presentation at an event just before BlogWorld Expo.

I suppose the important question is, should a Twitter stream be an active part of the presentation?

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Sponsored Conversations: Selling Out or Another Way to Make Money Blogging?


for sale

When I first began blogging five or six years ago, there were plenty of arguments over whether or not bloggers should use ads on their blogs. Those who did were considered sell outs. Then the “make money online craze” hit and everyone was posting ads on their blogs and all of a sudden they weren’t selling out, they were smart. They found a way to earn money without having to ever leave the house.

Enter sponsored conversations. All of a sudden we’re back to being sellouts again.

I’ve been thinking a lot about sponsored conversations lately. A couple of months ago, my blog network announced a partnership with a major online content site. Though I was thrilled for the possibilities, some members of my community were not. I was a sell out and a hypocrite. Why? Because I’m looking to earn more than my measly Adsense income?

I have no problem with sponsored posts. They remind of TV’s golden days when Milton Berle pimped Brill Cream during his variety hour. Really, how are sponsored conversations different from product placement in the movies? Where’s the outrage there? In case you’re not familiar, “sponsored conversatio” is a pretty term for “advertisement.” The sponsor is paying me to write up his ad and post it on my blog.

As a Premium Blogger in Izea‘s Social Spark sponsored conversation network, I earned $800 with only two posts.  I mean, why not? I figure as long as I’m not spammy, I let it be known that I’m accepting coin for my efforts and I choose sponsorships that are of interest to my community. Why is it such a terrible thing to write a post in exchange for payment. It’s not like I’m promoting laundry detergent on my freelance writing blog.

I feel that:

  • As long as I rock the disclosure…
  • As long as I don’t spam my community…
  • As long as I choose sponsorship that are on topic…
  • As long as I don’t offend anyone...actually, scratch that. No matter what I do, there’s always someone who is offended.
  • As long as I don’t make every blog posts an advertisement for something or other…

What difference does is make whether or not I accept payment for a sponsored conversation?

What are your thoughts? Is it selling out, or just another way to make money blogging?

Chad Vader Breaks The Internet and Turns To Blog World Expo For Help


If you have not seen this video of Chad Vader now is a good time to check it out.  We have had quite a chuckle here watching and sending it out via Twitter.  Our special thanks to Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda for their hard work in putting it together and allowing us to have a bit of fun.  You can see their session on YouTube Success on Friday, October 16, 2009 at 4:30 p.m.   If you have not yet registered to be a part of the event, I will send Chad to your house and break your Internet!


Thanks also to our other speakers, Chris Brogan, Cali Lewis and Guy Kawasaki for letting us poke some fun.

Ode to BlogHer ’09 – Telling Dad Style


Were you at Blogher ’09? Was it truly a swagfest? Would love to hear from folks who have good stories to tell. What did YOU take away from BlogHer – and by takeaway I don’t mean things that can be stuffed into a carryon.


Ashton Kutcher Threatens to Stop Tweeting – Do We Care?



Dear Ashton Kutcher,

I have news for you. There was a Twittersphere long before you went on national television begging for followers, and there will be a Twitter long after.

Your threatening to stop Tweeting if Twitter turns into a reality television show is akin to the many Twitterers who threatened to stop Tweeting if celebrities (that would be you) took over Twitter with their million plus follower accounts.  We don’t care.

I mean, you go on CNN, you go on Oprah, you’re in the headlines for weeks for being the first Twitterer with one million followers, and you worry about Twitter being a sell out because of a rumored television show? What’s the matter Ashton, did John & Kate steal away your headlines this week?

You say you’re against a Twitter television show because you don’t want to be stalked. Yet you’re on television drumming up a following. You even post pictures of your wife’s butt. If you’re so interested in your safety and privacy, I’m thinking you might want to spend a little less time online? You’re a celebrity, Ashton. We find you pimping cameras, taking over the CNN building, and punking unsuspecting celebrities, and now, after all this time, you’re worried someone may stalk you because of a rumored reality television show that would be “putting ordinary people on the trail of celebrities in a revolutionary competitive format.” Heck, TMZ does this on a daily basis.

Go ahead Ashton. Stop Tweeting. Then come back a week later and see if anyone noticed.

I’m thinking no.


Someone who thinks maybe you should stop for a while so more important topics can make the headlines.

Should Oprah Be Allowed To Speak At BlogWorld?


Wow people can really get their shorts in a twist really quickly in the Blogosphere or in this case the Twittersphere.

Tonight Twitter and the tech blogs were buzzing with talk about Ashton Kutcher’s little challenge to CNN to see who could be the first to get to one million followers on Twitter. Larry King Responded.  Many of the “real Tweeple” were put off with the entire event.

Then our Social Media Director Jim Turner Tweeted this:

So how hard would it be to have Oprah keynote blogworld on the “New Media”?

I then replied:

@Genuine let ask her. @oprah now that you are on Twitter, would you like to come give a keynote at the worlds largest social media event?

Several people were immediately up in arms.  Here is a sampling of the replies:

Kencamp: @blogworld 2 cents worth – BWE is a maybe for us, but Oprah speaking would blow credibility of it all and lead me to opt out I think.

LisaHoffman: @Genuine Guess it depends on who you’re trying to attract. I thought BlogWorld was aimed at SM fans and practitioners, not celeb groupies.

adamkmiec: @blogworld you’ve got to be kidding me

CathyWebSavvyPR: @LisaHoffmann Probably not a good choice for Blogworld. Fun, entertaining, zany, smart? but not keynot. if celeb MCHammer takes it seriously

DougMeacham: @MackCollier Having Oprah speak as an “expert” could damage blogworld expo’s cred w/practitioners but mayB they’re looking 4 a new customer

BethHarte: @Genuine If Oprah Keynotes BlogWorld, I am staying home… Because if she’s a SM expert that means I don’t have enough coin to ever be one.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. Social Media insiders tend to be a little clubby and insular but I sincerely hope the folks above and others who might have a similar knee jerk reaction reconsider their opinion.

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Twitter Worm Spreads Over Easter Weekend


Isn’t Easter supposed to be the time of getting dressed up nicely, maybe going to a church with your family, eating too much ham, eggs and rolls and finding bright colored eggs hidden all over the yard?  I’m fairly sure the last thing it’s supposed to be about is the spreading of a new worm that is aimed directly at and infects Twitter accounts.  Have we officially entered into a new era of virus attacks?  Are social networking sites next?

If that is indeed the case, and new worms are being developed that target social networking, things could get extremely ugly, extremely fast.  This most recent worm that spread over this Easter weekend throughout Twitter and is bringing up a great deal of questions about the safety of this type of networking and ways to avoid it in the future.

According to reports:

“The attack began around 2 a.m. Saturday from four accounts. Twitter’s security team hunted the malicious code and secured compromised accounts throughout the day. Nearly two hundred user accounts were compromised by the worm on Saturday…Another wave of attacks hit on Sunday, but the blog didn’t say how many additional accounts were hit. The company says it removed nearly 10,000 tweets that could have been used to spread the worm.”

Yikes.  As you know, both Facebook and MySpace have also been used, in the past to spread some nasty code and viruses, but Twitter is a different beast.  If someone is figuring out ways to spread malicious code just by using Tweets, that opens the door for a huge number of different devices vulnerable for infection.  From laptops to desktops, cell phones to email, a lot can go wrong.  Keep your eye on this one, you haven’t heard the end of it.

Google Wants Twitter…Is Twitter King?


141010-googlelogo_180 Unless you’re hiding under some sort of stone in the past few days and weeks, you’ve most likely heard the rumors circulating and floating around that Google has officially expressed some interest in acquiring the wildly popular microblogging site, Twitter.  Wow.

Given the fact that newer rumors are now circulating that Twitter wouldn’t sell to Google, not even for $1 Billion, it’s so far looking highly unlikely that Twitter would ever take the bait, take the check and relinquish control, but nevertheless, the simple fact that Google is expressing the interest they are says a great deal more than whether or not they sell or not.  Let’s face it, right now, Twitter just might be king.

The question that remains is, WHY does Google want Twitter?  Are they in the habit and pattern of just buying what is hot and what is popular while they are still on top, as they did with YouTube, or do they see something of a threat in Twitter?  It’s clear that Twitter’s “real-time search” is a big deal and something that Google as of now doesn’t have, but is it enough to threaten Google?  No.  So why?  That question remains to be answered and given the fact that in today’s economic climate, many companies are actually trying to shave costs, the acquisition of a company that so far has shown it’s a bit difficulty generating revenue, it doesn’t make much sense.

According to an article in PCWorld recently, many are speculating as to why and what Twitter represents to Google.  In an interview in the article:

“Twitter is clearly hot. The phenomenon of real time search and the ability to capture this stream of ‘tweet’ discussions is an important development in social media and search because people are trying to mine data for information that might otherwise be sought in a search engine…This whole phenomenon Twitter represents is here to stay and needs to be addressed by search engines.”

My best guess, Google wants Twitter so no one ELSE can have it.  The age old story, I want you, so no one else can.  What do you think…why is Google even entering the rumor mill about wanting Twitter?  Sound off…

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