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Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Jail for Facebook Riot Page


Social Media can be used to spread good news for a good cause and as we saw with the London riots, it can also be used to spread violence which tears a city apart.

Two young men, who used Facebook to post messages during the London riots, have been sentenced to 4 years in jail, says The Guardian.

Twenty-year-old Jordan Blackshaw (left) created a Facebook event called Smash Down Northwich Town. Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan (right), 22, used his Facebook account to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots.

Neither posts are believed to have actually caused any meetings or disturbances.

While some are saying these sentences are a little extreme, The Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement, “While the judge heard the two defendants were previously of good character, they admitted committing very serious offenses that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years. The consequence of their actions could have led to more disorder and this was taken into account.”

Nearly 1,300 suspects have been brought before the courts and the sentences have been harsh. Crown court judge Andrew Gilbert QC, is making it very clear why.

He said, “The principal purpose is that the courts should show that outbursts of criminal behaviour like this will be and must be met with sentences longer than they would be if the offences had been committed in isolation. For those reasons, I consider that the sentencing guidelines for specific offences are of much less weight in the context of the current case, and can properly be departed from.”

Home Secretary Theresa May and other UK officials will be meeting with Facebook and Blackberry Messenger to discuss the possibility of banning people from social networks when they know they are using them for “plotting violence, disorder and criminality”.

Image Source: The Guardian

Marines Head to YouTube for Ball Invitations


My, my, my how times have changed. Would you ever have thought, let’s say 10 years ago, that a Marine could shoot a video inviting a major celebrity to an event and then get a yes?

Fast forward to the present, and one of the biggest trends on YouTube this week are the Marine Ball invitations that have been given out to stars like Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Betty White and Miley Cyrus.

Sgt Scott Moore with 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines in Musa Qala, Afghanistan asked Mila Kunis to the Marine Corps Ball in Greenville, NC on November 18th. His video currently has over 3 million views. Mila said yes.

Marine Sgt. Ray Lewis asked Betty White to the Marine Corps Ball in Fort Worth, Texas Oct. 29. She politely declined, but Linda Hamilton, yes Terminator Linda Hamilton, turned the tables and said she’s no Betty White, but she would go to the ball with Lewis.

The latest invite was extended to Miley Cyrus from PFC Hart. No word yet if she has accepted.

Just for fun..If you could invite any celebrity to an event, who would it be? Hmmm, I wonder if Bradley Cooper has any plans this weekend?

Meet the Blogger: Michael Brandvold, Michael Brandvold Marketing


Meet the Blogger is a feature here at the BlogWorld blog where we introduce you to some of newest bloggers in various niches. Today, we’re talking with Michael Brandvold, who blogs at Michael Brandvold Marketing. Check out his interview below, as well as the full list of Meet the Blogger interviews (including instructions for participating).

Allison: Thanks for being a part of Meet the Blogger, Michael! Tell us a little about you and your blog.

Michael: I am a freelance music industry consultant based in Northern California. Having launched Michael Brandvold Marketing to leverage my years of experience (over 20) to provide direction to large and small clients in the areas of online & social marketing as well as e-commerce and customer acquisition and retention.

Gene Simmons of KISS first tapped my skills as a pioneering online marketing strategist to launch and manage all aspects of Kissonline.com‘s multi-million dollar enterprise, including their ground-breaking VIP ticket program.

I have also managed the online branding,  marketing,  and sales efforts for U2,  Motley Crüe,  Rod Stewart,  Madonna,  Ozzy Osbourne,  Madonna and Britney Spears,  as well as marketing programs for iconic entertainment corporations including Universal Music Group,  BMG/Sanctuary Records,  Rhino Records,  and Playboy,  to name only a few.

My blog is simply my outlet to provide the knowledge and insight from working with all these clients. I provide very actionable advice, tips and directions for musicians.

What initially attracted you to blogging and why did you choose to blog about music marketing?

I have always had a opinion when it came to online marketing for bands and felt it was time to fully express it. Music has been my passion since I was a kid. I have been in a band, buy I have been a fan my entire life.

I noticed that you’ve chosen to have a static page as your homepage, rather than a homepage that shows your most recent blogposts. What led to this decision?

I guess that comes from many years of building and managing websites. I like to have a static page that I can control to push and promote whatever I need. Though honestly this might change as I am working on a new site template.

What are some of the challenges you’re facing as someone who’s new to blogging?

Probably the biggest challenge was establishing myself as a authority. I know what I was talking about, and friends and clients knew as well. But nobody else knew me from the man on the moon. So I have spent six months really focused on becoming a respected authority.

Establishing authority is something I think is a challenge for a lot of new bloggers. Can you give us some tips/advice on this topic – what have you been doing that works?

I have spent the first six months focused on nothing more than blogging and providing knowledge. Before even thinking about using your blog to generate revenue you need to establish yourself. Gain trust of the community before you start looking for revenue. Blogging, Facebook and Twitter engagement needs to be consistent, and seek out other established authorities and engage with them specifically. Join the communities they are part of, follow the sites they follow. And finally, write about what you care about. Don’t worry about not having an audience initially, just keep writing. The audience will find you.

What’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned so far as a blogger?

Write about what you believe in. If you are called to back up something you write that can be difficult if you don’t care about the topic. If you love what you write about you can defend and stand behind your words very easily. Oh, and maybe don’t be afraid of some controversy.

I love that you have a ton of audio content on your blog – it really fits your niche well! Can you give bloggers some tips for transitioning from text-only to producing audio content?

After a few months of blogging the transition to a podcast just felt very natural. Don’t over plan a podcast, just do it. Let it be natural and just flow. Talk about what you might normally discuss with a friend. I have also posted alot of audio clips that I have gathered over the years. Interviews I have conducted, as well as some radio clips. If you can find audio that interests your audience go for it. Be sure to do your best to credit the source.

What blogging topics do you hope to learn more about in the coming months?

Hmm, really good question. I would love to learn more about using my blogging to get speaking engagements and how to translate my blogs into ebooks.

Thanks again for the interview, Michael! Readers, make sure to check out Michael’s blog, and follow him on Twitter @michaelsb.

Ask the Notables: Which Blog Would You Take Over?


Over the next few weeks we’ll be featuring a series of “Ask the Notable” questions and answers – featuring some of the most notable talent in the blogging & social media space. This was originally going to be called “Ask the Expert” but due to previous comments, I’ll stick with notable!

These aren’t your typical (dry) questions, instead we’re going for humor and interest. And we consider YOUR answers to be notable too – so jump on in and answer the question with a comment below!

This week’s question … If you could take over any other blog, what one would you choose and why?

The responses (and not everyone responded to every question – so you may see some different people next week!) in alphabetical order:

C.C. Chapman
C.C. Chapman

Would it be inappropriate to say Fleshbot? *laugh*

Seriously though, I’d have different answers for different reasons, but I do think it would be fun to lead the team at sites like First Showings, Manolith or Lifehacker in order to have first access to all the information they do. That would be fun!

Chris Garrett

Hmm … either Problogger or Digital Photography School (because there’s a natural fit with topic and audience, plus they are profitable blogs!)

Jason Falls
Social Media Explorer

Probably The Onion‘s or the Tosh.0 blog. I like being funny but the business world forces me to be much more diplomatic than I prefer.

Jay Baer
Convince & Convert

DeadSpin or WineLibraryTV

Maggie Fox
Social Media Group

The Monkeys You Ordered because it is so incredibly funny and I’d like to pretend that I thought of it!

Zac Johnson

I think it would be fun to run a blog / web sites like ESPN or TMZ. It would be a completely different world than online marketing, and you’d be able to make some amazing contacts and always get hooked up with VIP passes and fun events!

Next Week: Is there anything about your blog design that matches your personality? (fonts, colors, header) and why?

What Businesses and Bloggers can Learn from Mayor’s Use of Social Media


Want to see a great use of social media? Check out Cory Booker, who is the major of Newark, New Jersey. While other cities in the east were crippled by snow this weekend, he took to Twitter for a unique approach to snow response. Using social media, he was able to reach out to the people of the city, sending plows and salt trucks to streets that had been missed, helping to dig out disabled residents and senior citizens, and even delivering diapers to someone in need.

There’s a real lesson here.

The snow? That was something was completely out of Booker’s control. Mistakes in the response were inevitable, as is often the case when businesses and bloggers deal with a problem. But because he listened to residents, not only was he able to correct problems, but he was able to keep almost everyone happy, even in a really crappy situation. What did he do right?

  • He responded instead of just listening or talking.

A lot of businesse owners and bloggers I see on Twitter talk. A lot. They tweet their links. They talk about their lives. They make announcements. A lot have learned to listen too. They gauge reactions to changes they make, and they respond to things their followers tweet. But a very small number actually respond to individuals. Listening benefits you, since you are able to make chances on your blog or with your products and connect with people, but responding means that you’re actually helping people with their problems. In my opinion, you need to talk, listen, and respond.

  • He let people know he was trying.

When there’s a major event going on, no one expects you to be perfect. They do expect you to try. If your audience or customer base is complaining about you on Twitter (or Facebook or whatever) and you are completely silent, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing to remedy the situation. All people remember is that they were angry and being kept in the dark. As a resident of NJ, let’s say you had to wait 24 hours for a snow plow. You’d be mad, right? What if you had to wait 24 hours, but during hour 2 of your wait, the mayor personally responded to your angry tweet and said when they were coming and that they were sorry it was taking so long? I don’t know about you, but I’d be less angry. The original Tweeter, @NEAKO, went on to sing Booker’s praises he responded and eventually showed up to help.

  • He didn’t try to make excuses. He just fixed problems as best he could.

It’s a mistake if someone’s street gets missed, for example. Booker could have gotten defensive at people who were upset. It’s certainly true that mistakes are going to happen and the city was doing the best they could. But instead, he focused on fixing problems, not making excuses. If you mess up, apologize and correct mistakes. Making excuses in that kind of situation just pisses people off.

  • He gave people updates.

Like I said, people don’t like to be kept in the dark. If there’s a situation going on, don’t just respond to those having problems. Remember that for every person who speaks up, there are hundreds of people who are silent, but also unhappy. Give people as many updates as possible. If you’re working on the problem, people need to know that. Otherwise, it looks like you’re not doing anything and don’t care that people are mad.

  • He gave credit where credit is due.

Rather than pointing fingers of blame when things went wrong, he instead focused on thanking people who helped. Reading tweets like that would make me want to grab a shovel and chip in too if I was in Newark!

Thank you, Mayor Booker, for showing us how to use Twitter the right way! Best of luck in continue to deal with the snow!

Scott Stratten Doesn’t Know Who You Are


Scott Stratten was the keynote speaker at BlogWorld 2010, and getting to meet him was definitely a cool moment for me, since I respect his work. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, and it led me to realize something important that I wanted to share with you:

Scott Stratten doesn’t know who you are.

Furthermore, Darren Rowse doesn’t know who you are. Chris Garrett doesn’t know who you are. Brian Clark doesn’t know who you are.

And I would even go a step farther and say that none of these guys even cares who you are.

Chris and Darren don't know who I am because I am a supporter of theirs. They know who I am because I marched up, introduced myself, and *told* them I am a supporter.

Why? Simple:

  • You lurk on their sites or as a Twitter follower.
  • You comment sporadically or never really say much in a comment other than “I agree.”
  • You RT them, but never actually comment on their tweets.
  • You’ve never introduced yourself.
  • You’ve never approached them in any way other than with the question, “Can you help me?”
  • You’ve never linked them on your blog, or even referenced them.

Do you know every single person online? Of course not. Even if you’ve been online longer than Peanut Butter and Jelly Time, you can’t possibly know everyone in your niche, even. Do you even know all of your Twitter followers? Unless you only have a handful, probably not.

So you sit there and fume that Scott Stratten (or whoever) doesn’t engage. “His entire stance on social media is that you have to engage with people. What a poser – he never once said anything to me, and I’ve been a fan of his for years. Waaaaaaah.”

Ok, I hope you aren’t actually being that melodramatic. Still, I think we all find ourselves thinking these thoughts. We feel ignored by people who, frankly, have no idea they are ignoring us.

If you do actively try to engage with any of these people (or the people you look up to within your niche) and they outright ignore you time and time again, ok. I stand correctly and they’re assholes. But I’ve never once met someone in the social networking/Internet marketing/blogging world who is like that. In fact, I never once met anyone considered to be “kinda a big deal” in their industry who is like that. You don’t get to be a “big name” if you refuse to acknowledge people.

Have you ever just tried being a friend? Have you ever walked up to Scott or Darren or Chris or Brian or (insert your favorite blogger here) and just said hello? I have.* And guess what? They know who I am now. Are they going to be my new bff in real life or even on Twitter? No. That’s just silly. Building a relationship is a slow endeavor. Meeting me once at a conference does not mean that they are now going to recognize every single thing I do or say. “Oh my god, I just tweeted that I’m going to bed. WHY HASN’T SCOTT SAID GOODNIGHT TO ME?!?!”

If you want someone to know who you are, 99 times out of 100 it is not their fault if they don’t. You want the relationship, so initiate it. These people all want to meet their fans…and more importantly, these people all consider you as a peer, not as someone on a lower level. They’re more than happy to get to know you if you actually take the time to get to know them, as a friend, not just as a follower. Say hello. Reply to their tweets. Comment on their blog posts in a way that adds to the conversation. Propose well-written, interesting guest posts for their blog, if they accept them. Write a blog post that names them in the title? I don’t know – do something to show them that you support whatever they’re doing. Y’all are creative people. Be creative.

I would like to make one other point before I leave you with your thoughts for the night, and to be honest, this point deserves a blog post to itself, which I’ll probably end up doing in the near future:

If your mindset is “What can he do for me?”, Scott Stratten may come to know who you are, but he will never care who you are.

And that’s true of anyone. Even me.

*Well, I almost. I never actually found Brian Clark at BlogWorld to say hello…hopefully next year!

Mark Burnett and Brian Solis Chat about New Media and Taking Chances


Image Source: Ken Yeung

You likely know Mark Burnett as the Emmy-winning mastermind behind Survivor, but his list of credits is about a mile long. During BlogWorld 2010, Mark sat down with new media guru Brian Solis to talk about the convergence of media and the future of unscripted drama on the web.

“The need to be certain causes paralysis.” – Mark Burnett

Mark is known for taking risks. Now, reality television and elimination game shows are everywhere, but Survivor was really the first. Although taking risks is scary, during the keynote, Mark emphsized how important it is to your business, and really, to your life. It is a lesson that applies to bloggers just as it applies to television products. You cant never truly be certain that an idea will work. You have to just believe in it and do it.

In fact, Mark went as far as to call the need to be certain a form of procrastination. If you are always worried about getting something perfect, it will never be ready to launch. Perfection is something that will never happen on a blog. Do not procrastinate using the excuse that your site/post/product/whatever isn’t perfect yet. Make it good, and then launch!

Mark’s entire keynote wasn’t about risks, of course. I hope you got to see it live in person or streaming on Ustream at home. If not, check out Rob’s cartoon recap of the event or get your virtual ticket to BlogWorld to have access to all of the keynotes and sessions that happened/will happen this week.

Oh, an something super special that Mark brought along? Never-before-seen footage of his new project, Sarah Palin’s Alaska which will be on TLC! He actually demonstrated the power of social media by posting this video on a random person’s YouTube page and asking everyone to give it a tweet. Check out the video yourself right now:

Is WordPress Bullying Developers?


In any industry, large companies have a responsibility to use their influence responsibly. There’s a lot of gray area here, of course, but I do feel like some entities throw around their clout to pressure partners, clients, customers, and so forth into making certain decisions. When a large company is pressuring a “little guy” to do something, sometimes it is easier to just bite the bullet and do it, even if you don’t agree.

With that said, I hope you’ll watch this video from Mixergy:

The fight on Twitter has been nothing less than high school-quality, in my opinion. Both sides are flinging nasty comments and refusing to budge on the issue. There’s no compromising, or even talk of compromising, and it’s gotten to the point where supporters on both sides are bad-mouthing one another without even really understanding the problem.

I feel like it’s Team Edward versus Team Jacob out there.

I was quite disturbed after watching the above video and reading other opinions on the topic, so I did a little independent research. What I’ve found is that this case is fuzzy at best. GPL might be a great license most of the time, but when it comes to this situation, it’s pretty confusing. Personally, I think that WordPress totally believes that how they’re interpreting the law is right…and I also believe that they’re wrong.

When you create a product under GPL, like WordPress, any derivative product is also required to carry the GPL license. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t sell the product, but it does mean that the product can be modified and redistributed by others. If you choose to redistribute a GPL product with your own modifications, you have to do so under a GPL license as well.

You can see where the problem arises between Thesis and WordPress. Thesis is a premium theme (i.e., not free) specifically made for WordPress, but the creator, Chris Pearson, doesn’t want to distribute it under the GPL. If he did so, it would give anyone the right to modify it, even just slightly and sell it as well, or even give it away for free. He says that themes are not derivative works, so should not be subject to GPL laws. WordPress disagrees, saying that theme don’t work without WordPress, so they are derivative works.

Here’s how I see it:

Let’s say WordPress is milk, and milk is available for anyone to use in whatever recipe they want, under a GPL. I create a cookie recipe that uses milk, so my recipe must also be open for anyone to use. Milk is a part of what I’m doing, so the creators of milk state that unless I’m willing to give away my recipe under GPL as well, I’m not allowed to use milk. It makes sense. Even though I put hard work into my cookie recipe, I can’t sell my cookies without giving away the recipe.

Now let’s say that Chris Pearson created a type of cereal. His cereal doesn’t use milk as one of the ingredients, but what’s the use of eating it without milk? You do need milk to eat his cereal, but milk isn’t an ingredient in the same way it is an ingredient of my cookie recipe.

By that thinking, Chris (who is the real-life creator of Thesis) should be allowed to distribute his cereal without giving away his secret recipe for the perfect corn flake or fruit loop or whatever. He did something without using the help of milk – his product just happens to work hand-in-hand with milk.

In my opinion, Chris (switching to real life now) has the right to license his product however he wants. I believe the same of any WordPress theme. If you use pieces of the WordPress code in your product, you should have to redistribute under GPL…but creating a product that works with WordPress isn’t a derivative product necessarily.

With that said, let’s go back to my original question in the title – is WordPress bullying developers?

Yes and no. I don’t think there’s a clear black or white answer here. On one hand, yes. WordPress has been threatening to sue Chris and Thesis, and they have pretty must pressured other developers into redistributing under GPL law. However, I do believe that WordPress legitimately believes they are right. I believe that they believe are well within their rights to demand developers to use a GPL with their products. I think they see this as very black and white, and see Chris as something who is blatantly breaking the law, giving them the middle finger, so to speak. I don’t think he is. I think he has a point, and the WordPress guys are refusing to see it.

It’s a tricky situation. I actually think it would be in the best interest of everyone involved to go to court. In fact, I think that it would be in the best interest of GPL users everywhere if this case went to court so that “derivative works” would be clarified.

I’m sure there are a ton of opinions out there, both for and against WordPress. I’d love to hear ’em, so leave a comment, even if you disagree with me. 🙂

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. She is not a Twilight fan, despite her reference in this post.

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?

The 140 Characters Conference "Call For Speakers"


Jeff Pulver wrote a blog post and sent out an email blast to all of the people interested in the 140 conference that will be taking place in NYC on April 20-21, 2010.  Jeff has done a great job of getting attendees to come out and hear from some of the best known people or in his case “characters” on Twitter.  The deadline for the call for speakers is January 22, 2010.  I am especially interested in how the nomination process works for him.  More of the information can be obtained from the email itself:

With today’s “Call for Speakers” I am looking for creative, out-of-the-box thinkers to come forward and pitch me something relevant they would like to present that has been effected by the emerging real-time, NOW Internet.

My hope is to attract not only established celebrities, members of the media and thought leaders who are now using twitter, but those who have become a celebrity, and a brand in their own right, through the creative and disruptive application that twitter continues to be.

I’m looking for first-hand accounts of how twitter is being used and the impact it is happening in the industry sectors this event is focusing on. My goal is to bring together a curated group of characters to both lead and contribute to the discussions. And this event isn’t just about twitter. Open for discussion are all platforms and applications which are effecting and contributing to the real-time internet experience.

I believe that 140 of the right characters can impact 140,000 online participants at the event. I saw this happen in 2009 at the New York, LA, London and Tel Aviv events, plus multiple #140Conf MeetUps held across the U.S.

I believe that the knowledge shared and learned at this event will help bring more people into the twitter ecosystem. The take aways from this event will provide the attending delegates knowledge, perspectives and insights to the next wave of effects twitter will have on business.

So please, think about what YOU could contribute to the dialog, and who you may know who would be interested in being part of this event.

#140conf is the twitter hashtag for the conference. I would appreciate your help in once again spreading awareness of the April conference to the people who you are connected with on your social networks.

What I hope to bring together is a gathering of people with a variety of backgrounds and together explore the future of where things are going and how to best prepare the community at large to get there.

If you are interested in speaking at: 140 Characters Conference, and or would like to suggest a speaker, please tweet your nomination to #140conf. I will be checking the twitter stream on an almost real-time basis for nominations. You can also contact me by sending email to: jeff@pulver.com. The deadline for speaking proposals is: Friday, January 22nd but the first to be nominated will be the first considered.

I am also looking for sponsors and for exhibitors to be part of our twitter showcase. My goal is to have a special section of the event just for applications, and a maybe this time a Best Of #140conf Award for killer apps. For more information about sponsoring and exhibiting, please contact me by sending email to: jeff@pulver.com

A new approach to the pricing of the #140conf events was announced last week. Click here to learn more about this.

For more information about upcoming #140conf events, please visit: http://140conf.com.

I will reach out and see if Jeff will give us an interview here of the process and other questions that will give more details of the conference.  Jeff if you are listening or reading here, how about a sneak peek under the hood of the 140 conference?

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