For those of you following the Fat Cyclist you'll have been as saddened to hear of the passing of his wife after a long battle with cancer. One of the things you discover when tragedy strikes is how much your virtual community and friends really mean to you. A simple comment means so much.
Transparency matters if you plan to edit and entry that describes you, your company or something in which you have a vested interest. So make it apparent what your interest is and why the edit matters. Remembering that what matters to you, might not matter to others.
NYT covers the emergence of brand blogs. Communicating to, evangelizing and even spurring the development of brand blogs should be a key activity for any communicator and marketer. Ken Ross of NetFlix is quoted:
"In addition to viewing blogs as another media channel, it allows us to keep our pulse on the marketplace," said Ken Ross, a vice president of Netflix, the movie rental company based in Los Gatos, Calif. One of the best-known blogs about Netflix, hackingnetflix.com, was started last November by Mike Kaltschnee, who lives in Danbury, Conn.
"I post anything I find interesting, and it turns out 100,000 people a month find it interesting, too," said Mr. Kaltschnee. He also started a blog about Trader Joe's, the specialty grocery chain based in Monrovia, Calif., at trackingtraderjoes.com/.
When it comes to Netflix service, postings about scratched discs or torn return envelopes generate dozens of comments from readers. "It's sort of like the unadulterated truth about Netflix," Mr. Kaltschnee said. "We hope that Netflix reads these things and notices trends and fixes them.
All the more reason for branding, marketing and communications to be joined at the hip. More than anything, this points to the emergence of complete brand transparency. Here bloggers are diving deeping into the brand and product than any analyst or journalist could on an ongoing basis. It gets at a deeper trend of brands being evangelized and laid bare.
I'm going to get serious about my categories. First, they are a key organizing element and integral to the information architecture of the blog. Second, I'm keen to write on a range of topics and don't want you bothered by, say, hotel reviews and rants on Super12 Rugby when all you are really interested in is Communications. So, here is my thinking.
Communications:- writings on brand, media, public and analyst relations.
Media:- thoughts on media trends and reporting.
Social Networking Technologies:- on blogging, wikis, participatory communications
Reviews & Raves:- reviews on books, music, hotels, wine and food. In fact, just about anything I've paid money for.
Crossings:- thoughts on growing successful enterprises with a heavy marketing bent. I do a lot of work with New Zealand and Australian-based start-ups. These pieces are intended for them.
The focus of my blog remains unchanged - the revolution occurring in communications and business driven by the ethics and transparency crisis and the emergence of social networking technologies. I’m a firm believer that traditional communications practices such as PR and brand communications are being turned on their head by a confluence of events.
Let me know if this helps or if there are other categories I might add to help you navigate my site.
About TIme!James over at Redmonk speaks to the evolution of the analyst industry in some of his most recent posts:
We're going to be following up with a nod to the meme... Taking an editorial stance based on available information. We find new ways to package information so it wil me more appealing - in narratives, for example. Part of RedMonk's business model is too package information in stories rather than reports.
This is refreshing. Are citizen analysts going to eventually drive traditional industry analysts out of business? I doubt it. But boy is technology going to ignite a more vigourous conversation about what is happening in the industry. Content (analysis) will become more freely available and accessible than it is through the costly models of traditional analysts today - and less linked to their clients (and source of revenue). And the smaller firms such as Redmonk are in a better position - both from an economics and credibility standpoint - to fuel it by driving conversations out of board rooms and into the blogsphere.
If nothing else, Redmonk deserves big points for a) blogging like they do and, b) being so clear about their business model. James' blog is a must read.
Love Those Zines. I'm an eZine fanatic. Amongst my faves are Cuisine Mag out of New Zealand and Flavorpill (which produces are range of others in the city/design/style category).
Flavorpill's most recent SF edition points to a new eZine with intriguing design - IntoTheStorm - which it wraps as:
With just about every rag these days offering a Face-like barometer of cool, digital 'zine Into the Storm offers a refreshing take on style-mag journalism. The clincher is the examination of ideas and concepts rather than gadgets and parties: think Franz Ferdinand on Russian art, Nicholas Hawksmoor's London churches, and how literature got hip again. Issue two is deliriously self-referential, subtitled "Everything Style Magazines Forgot To Tell You". Spot-on advice includes how to create a global trend and how to talk your way into a nightclub. ("Create a diversion by faking a drug overdose or screaming class war from a megaphone.") (KW)
The only drawback to all three (at least from my reading) is the lack of RSS feeds. These would make my life so much easier. Tip for Communicators #4 - RSS every content category you can. Create feeds and feed'em.
Speaking of RSS, take a look at the new news site sponsored Fabrica, the philanthropic arm of Benetton.
Every hour, 10x10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading international news sources, and performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour's most important words. The top 100 words are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from the source news stories.
Then hop on over to Wordcount an interactive presentation of the 86,800 most frequently used English words created by Number 27. Brilliant work. Ah, what the heck, visit here as well.
That Apple Thing. I've been getting lots of comments and questions on my comments on Apple. Here's an edited response with the caveats a) I’m not a lawyer and b) haven’t been able to get a copy of the lawsuit.
Apple’s Lawsuit, if they continue with it, will be an unfortunate test of who is and isn’t media, fifth amendment rights, and the power of the blogsphere.
Apple’s ‘news power’ comes less from PR itself and mostly from the stunning products and business models it has launched (although they do some pretty smart things). More than anything Apple is riding a wave of innovation and market success – and those of us have been around long enough know that the wave does break at some point. When this happens they might wish they’d banked a little more goodwill in the blogsphere.
Having spent the last 17 years trying to keep products under wraps till launch I do empathize with Apple. But suing journalists for reporting will do nothing to stop this happening again. Sure it’s easier to pick on the little guys but this hardly sets any example for big media (who wouldn’t have been sued if they’d done it). And, I’m not sure the little guys could buy the resulting publicity. So why not focus on re-emphasizing to employees the importance of keeping products under wraps and leave it at that (I would be with Apple if they fired the employee that leaked the information).
The notion of Bloggers as Journalists is worth a longer conversation – in the blogsphere. I don’t think we should confuse the two - although someone can clearly succeed at being both. Nevertheless, they should have the same ‘rights’ to free speech, reporting with perspective, protecting sources etc... Yes! Thanks to Katie Payne for flagging this story on the Bloggs vs. Journalist debate.
That the one company that has so long stood for the right things now stands for limiting free speech is a tragedy. To anyone that owns and Apple and loves the brand, the notion that this is nothing more than a PR stunt is asinine. There are better and more subtle ways of working with the fans that feed you. Forbes said it well:
Apple's current lawsuit alleges that "Unauthorized disclosure of product news diminishes the interest of both the mainstream and trade media in the launch of a new product."
Can you think of another company whose product news garners more coverage--regardless of unauthorized disclosures--from the geek and mainstream media?