Bill Weye

Category: Internet (page 2 of 3)

Great, another social media fire hose — Google Buzz

Hard to believe that there’s a niche to be filled, but Google’s cutting the tiniest sliver with Google Buzz, its social media tool.

Who was the master live blogger of the Apple iPad announcement?

I just finished following the live blogging from 3 different sources: MacWorld, the NY Times, and Engadget. Why is this important? Well, if you’re interested in the live blogging of events, this is a good hint at where to look in the future. Until now, I was never sure myself; now I know who’s got their shit together.

First, theoretically MacWorld should have had the best coverage. In the end, they had the worst by a mile. A complete mess. Five minutes into the presentation their internet connection went dead (nobody else had a problem). Because of this, I would assume, they switched from what would have been the best interface to a regular blog page, but there was no auto page reloading and new entries were on the bottom of the page, not the top. A pain in the neck. They had a few images. The text was well written, made better by the fact that they had three people simultaneously live blogging (Jason Snell, Dan Moren and Jonathan Seff). The content was okay (more images, please), the interface made the live blogging useless.

Update: Jason Snell responds in the comments, including a detailed explanation of what happened with their technical issues.

The New York Times did a good job, but their coverage might be different than you’d expect. Not a lot of images during the presentation, but the text is expansive and well written. If you like reading about the event, check out the Times live blogging. In terms of the interface, it’s nothing special: a regular blog page that you’ll have to refresh yourself. At least new entries are posted on the top of the Web page. I give them credit for that.

Funniest line from the NY Times coverage:

I’m cutting out all of Mr. Jobs’s “phenomenals” and “amazings” and “incredibles,” folks. Just assume they are there.

Who had the best coverage? Engadget had the best coverage because of the ridiculous number of clear pictures. Their downfall was the the text descriptions, but this is live blogging of a consumer product roll out, so you want the pictures, right? I think so. But there needs to be better technical specification descriptions. Plus, for live blogging, Engadget had the two features that are necessary: sorting most recent updates at the top and auto refreshing of the page.

Funniest line from the Engadget coverage:

“We have a breakthrough deal with AT&T.” Wow. Some serious sharp intakes of breath here.

Did I miss some good live bloggers? Who do you think did the best live blogging of the iPad announcement?

Pope wants priests using social media, but probably not THAT way

Did you know the Catholic church had something called “World Communications Day“? Me neither. Seriously, who would have thought the church was such a proponent of communication when they’ve been pretty much mum about their priests raping boys and girls around the world. Go figure.

[An aside: if you go to the link above you’ll find the official message from the Pope about World Communications Day. The message begins thus: “Dear Brothers and Sisters!”. Seriously, the Pope is using an exclamation point, which reminds me of the quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”]

Anyhow, Pope Benedict XVI has asked priests to be prolific bloggers and make “make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications.” I’m guessing that doesn’t include using Craigslist to lure young girls into sex, as recently happened. Somewhat amusingly, the priest was caught up in a FBI sting operation called “Operation Guardian Angel.”

For more information about the Pope’s social media blitz, check out this article on Mashable, and Pope2You, the official Papal social media site that includes links to his YouTube page, iPhone app, and Facebook app.

Interview: Morriss Partee on PodCamp Western Mass

Coming up on February 6, 2010, a camp is taking place … no, not the kind of camp where you take swimming lessons and drink “bug juice“. PodCamp Western Mass is taking place at Westfield State College, where people will get together to talk and learn about all aspects of social media. PodCamps have been happening around the world since 2006, so I thought I would invite Morriss Partee, one of the organizers of PodCamp Western Mass, to discuss the 2010 event.

Morriss, aren’t PodCamps usually held in larger cities? Why have one in Western Mass?

Being a Western Mass resident for most of my life, I know that many folks think of our neighboring large cities, Boston, New York, as where the action is. I’ve always felt that we have amazing talent, people, business, organizations and energy right here in gorgeous Western Mass, and thought it would be great to bring all these folks together.

What was it about the first Western Mass PodCamp that made it worth doing a second time?

My hope in organizing the first one, along with social media pioneers Tish Grier and Jaclyn Stevenson, was to foster connections among all of our Western Mass talent; to bring together social media innovators such as Jason Turcotte, and Christine Pilch, alongside business leaders, programmers, artists, web designers and so forth. It was totally a success in terms of learning and networking in a fun environment. Everyone wanted to do it again, so here we are!

Can you please explain to people who aren’t aware, first, what is this “pod” business, then what about the “camp” part?

It’s a funny name, but the main idea is that this is an unconference where we all contribute and share our social media knowledge with one another. The “pod” comes from podcasting, and the “camp” represents the unconference, or grassroots, approach to the event. We stick with the name because it’s trademarked on behalf of the common good. PodCamp is an offshoot of BarCamp, and here’s the wikipedia info on that term’s origins.

It’s called a PodCamp, but are people only discussing and presenting about podcasting? Can you tell me what kinds of things people will see and learn at PodCamp Western Mass?

PodCamp was originally about podcasting, but the name stuck even as people became more interested in all facets of social media. We’ll determine most of the sessions the morning of the event, but tracks and subjects that are shaping up include: Social Media 101, blogging tips & techniques, video blogging, journalism/citizen journalism, social media in higher ed, and programming social apps. But anyone who has social media info to share or a session they want to learn more about, are welcome to submit it, and if there is interest, we’ll put it on the agenda!

Who do you think would most interested in PodCamp Western Mass?

Anyone interested in learning more about social media, including business people, educators, artists, programmers, designers, writers, PR people, and marketing professionals.

I’ve gone to a couple of PodCamps, including the first one, 2006 Boston. The one aspect that surprised me the most was the community spirit among people interested in social media. I think social media has sort of an unsocial reputation — these people can only communicate via the Internet — and that actual face-to-face communication is awkward. But that’s not true! At least not in my experience. Can you tell me about some of your good experiences at PodCamps?

I missed the first PodCamp Boston, but attended numbers two and three, and yes, the community spirit is wonderful. I think that’s part of the reason why PodCamp is such a great and important event– we interact with each other from a distance via computer screen all the time– but there’s no substitute for actually being the same room. I’m thrilled that Western Mass has “grown up” in the online social media space– there are many fantastic people who made friendships at last year’s inaugural PodCamp WesternMass, and I can’t wait to make many more friendships this time around! Including, that I hopefully get to meet you f2f for the first time, Bill!

Thanks for taking the time, Morriss. Hope to see you on February 6th.

PodCamp Western Mass has more information, plus you can register for the event. Of course, they have a Facebook page?

Have you ever been to a PodCamp, Western Mass or otherwise? Have a good story?

The worst top 10 lists

I’m sick of it. From now on I’ll be boycotting any “top” list when the content is spread over multiple pages, just for the sake of increasing page views. Because, that’s what it’s all about folks: getting you to view more pages on a site.

Creating lists on Web sites is a popular and proven trope; people love to read lists, no matter if they’re baseless or not. Lists are fun! Take a look at the search results for “top 10” and “top 7” (for some reason 7 is an effective number if you want more reader response).

Never mind the fact that you’re probably not any likelier to click on the ad on page 5 of the list. It’s all about increasing the page views so that Web sites can impress advertisers.

Let’s look at the numbers. If 100 people click on all 10 pages of a top 10 list, that’s 1,000 page views, opposed to just 100 if the list was on one page. Apparently the extra bandwidth charges still make this tactic profitable. Maybe bandwidth is too cheap?

What are your favorite examples of the worst top 10 lists?

Here’s How I’m Doing a Better Job Getting My Followers To Read My Tweets

One of the hardest things about communicating on the Web is trying to both be effective (and affective!) and not annoy people taking the time interact with your content. If someone is interested enough to read your blog posts or tweets, watch your video, or listen to your podcasts, you shouldn’t annoy them. Corporations and their marketing messages already bother people too much; you don’t want your communication lumped into the pile of corporate spam.

So, here’s what you can accomplish by repeating some  tweets and how to prevent your readers from being annoyed.

As your list of followers grows, especially beyond people you actually know, I think it’s safe to assume that people won’t read every one of your tweets. People’s Twittering habits are highly variable, but one thing is safe to assume: tweet reading is not comprehensive. You’ll never get all your tweets read by all your followers, but you can increase readership by repeating a tweet a few hours apart.

By repeating a tweet in the morning then the next day evening, you’re likely to catch people with different tweet consumption habits. For the obsesive folks monitoring their streams 24/7, repeating tweets aren’t likely to surprise those folks. Of course, you can only repeat tweets that aren’t time sensitive.

It probably isn’t necessary to repeat every tweet; not everything you write has the same value, therefore why potentailly make a nusance of yourself? Recently I repeated a tweet that caused a negative response, pointing out a problem: I probably repeated a tweet not worth the effort. Here’s the tweet I repeated:

Probably telling you something you already know, but the best wood fired oven bread in #westernma is Hungry Ghost Bread

I may be very passionate about this bread and the bakery, but by repeating  the tweet multiple times, it made me seem like a shill, even though I wasn’t getting paid for the promotion.

Balance your own enthusiasm with what your followers will be interested in, because even though most people won’t read all your tweets, you don’t want to continuously annoy people that are interested in everything you write. Balance!

What kinds of tweets would you repeat?

5 strategies to build enthusiasm in your organization for blogging

blogging enthusiasm I’m working with a small educational institution, helping them develop a blog that covers their specialized approach to educating students. It’s a great project; worthwhile, their blog could be a hub for writing and resources that I haven’t seen on the Web.

There’s one problem (so far!): finding and motivating regular contributors among the ranks of their institution. As part of my work for the school, I’ve brainstormed 5 ways they can get dedicated contributors on board:

  1. Don’t ask someone broadly, “can you write a post?”, instead ask them “can you write about X?” Ask them to write about their expertise or passion. That way people will give you better work and will enjoy it more. Set them up for success.
  2. Approach people and be ready to answer every “No” they could possibly have.
  3. First approach people that will both be likely to give you a “yes” and be advocates for your project. In every organization there are leaders, if not in position then by personality. Get the pied pipers on board first.
  4. Give the best support you can to your contributors. Develop a tip list for your contributors that will help them write posts: headline ideas, topic brainstorming ideas, and post format ideas. All of this together answers the statement, I don’t know how to write a blog post.
  5. Develop a good “elevator pitch”. It can be a very effective tool. One thing to be aware of: this term is often used around the business world, but there is no reason the techniques can’t be used in any number of settings. The idea is to deliver a summary of your blog in 30 seconds, in such a way that the pitchee then asks you to talk more about the project. Because you’ve created interest about your project, they’ll want to know more.

I’m sure there are other effective ways to get contributors to your blog on board. How have you done it?

Shovel ready Web design projects

Warning: Politician Ahead!!!
Creative Commons License photo credit: The Rocketeer

Talking to a potential client this week and assessing the two different Web design projects he wanted to do, I suggested first working on a nice, basic redesign of his main business site. That site was in desperate need of a design (it doesn’t currently have a design to re-design!), and as I told him, his business site was “shovel ready” for a Web designer to start work, while his other projects would require me to wait for him to write some content and collect assets.

In terms of any economic stimulus package here in the States, we’ve heard a lot about the federal government looking to fund “shovel ready” projects, so what the hell was I trying to say to my client about his site being shovel ready for a new Web design?

While his current site is a mess in terms of design and usability, I can also recognize that the site has a bunch of great content—text and some images—that just needs to be shaped with a nice Web design. I wouldn’t have to wait for him to write any content; it’s all there!

That’s shovel ready for a Web designer: all the content is waiting, just agree on the list of deliver-ables, and the project is good to go. I’ve found many potential clients aren’t ready for a designer to step in because they don’t have their content together, and some even think me writing the content is part of the package. Give me a shovel ready Web site any day!

Transparancy at – look at the robots file

Does this mean more transparancy in our government, the fact that the Obama administration has a one line exclusion for the robots file? What, you don’t remember the infinite robots file Bush had? The robots file, which tells search engines what files or directorys not to index (meaning you would never find that information in search engines), was about 2400 lines under the Bush administration.

Let the searching begin!

Cuil is not cool

cuil screen grab of a search for bill weye

cuil screen grab of a search for bill weye

I didn’t find Cuil cool at all. After reading about this new search engine from alumni from Google, I thought I would take Cuil for a spin by searching for my name, Bill Weye. Well, you can see a screen grab of the search results to the right.

The first thing you’ll notice in these search results are the images. How do they get there? Who knows . . . you would think that Cuil has some cool technology to find an image of me, which it places along side the result for my website, which you’re reading, but that image isn’t me! It doesn’t even look like me. And as for those other images, I don’t know anything about them. They don’t make any sense to me.

Besides the images, the search results are pretty much shit. They’ve got some spam blog that steals my content as one of their top results. In no way do their results come close to searching Google, or Yahoo! for me. Which one is better, Google or Yahoo!? I’d say they’re about the same; the resutls are a little different, but either one works pretty well.

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