Archive for July, 2010

Its Another Facebook Miracle

July 27, 2010

We’ve all had them–those miracles of Facebook.  When we re-connect with our past (it could be way distant past or something more contemporary), you know, one of those connections that you never saw coming and never thought would happen.

And I don’t mean like this one:

I’ve had more than a few.

The latest was with a high school English teacher (I probably should watch my punctuation and spelling, right?) although he tells me he retired at the end of last year.  Old habits die hard I suppose.  (Full disclosure, I know of at least one other English teacher who reads this blog)

Anyway, my mother is a long time educator-although not at the high school level.  From time to time I will get a note on Facebook or on Twitter from one of my mother’s former students asking me to pass along regards or thanks to my mother.  And usually I do.  I admit, sometimes I forget–but that’s more a sign of old age and stress than losing the sentiment.

Recently I “reconnected” with an old high school English teacher of mine.  Now the reason this teacher sticks out was because I had him as a teacher for probably three out of four years from ninth to 12th grade.   One of the reasons I have gravitated to computers and all things digital so heartily (despite my being on the fringe of the demographic) is that I was not blessed with great cursive handwriting.  However this teacher took a lot of time to work through some really bad handwriting to help bring out of me the ability to actually express myself through writing.

I sent him a thank you note on Facebook recently because I know my mom likes when she gets those thank you’s, and its important.

His response though made me think.  While I tend to think this teacher helped shape my writing style and the way I communicate through the written word–his take was that he did a small part to bring out talent already there.

The truth probably lies somewhere in between.  And that’s fine.

I can remember some of the classes with this teacher.  Some of the real-time feedback and some of the frustrations.

Somehow though it left an imprint–and yes through another Facebook miracle I was able to say thanks.

Would You Believe?

July 15, 2010

It was one of those days when through varied implied and implicit connections I managed to have conversations I had a seven in the morning ring true by four in the afternoon–without having any knowledge that one would lead to the other.  It’s a true Maxwell Smart, “Would you believe?” moment.

In the morning I was talking to a commuting buddy of mine about how blogs and social network can drive the news cycle.  The example we were discussing was the issue reported in the iPhone 4 device.  Here’s a good write through on that if you need the background.

The upshot of the discussion though was how a few bloggers can grab hold of something–and drive via Twitter, Facebook and comments a story until the “main stream” media picks up on it.

So today–what would happen if the BP capping of the well spewing oil in the Gulf was staged.

Step away for a moment.  How easy would it be for them to design a set similar to the one we’ve seen for more than 80 days from the bottom of the Gulf of oil spewing.  But this time–with no oil and this cap in place?  Switch the video source–and what do you know, it’s a capped well, right?

A few conspiracy theorists blog about this.  Spread it via Twitter.  A few Facebook shares–and you have a rumor ready to rumble along.

The final connection to all of this was an email today that CBS News was going to support the News Literacy Project.  One of the goals of this project is to help primarily students differentiate fact and fiction in this connected world.

Play it out–in Dallas in November of 1963.  Imagine a wired world, with instant mobile images and video.  Twitter to share the news far and wide and the second gunman theory? What would that look like today?

Would you believe we have the power to make things happen–to make people listen.  I guess it’s equally important to have something to say.

Out and About, But in All the Wrong Places

July 13, 2010

It’s no secret that each day we are deluged with data and information-all vying for at least 5 seconds of our attention.  Email tumbles in day and night.  Twitter clicks away.  Things are posted and commented on via Facebook.  Blogs are updated.  RSS readers gather information.  And to top it all off–we are so connected to it all from computers to smartphones to connected TV.  There is no off switch.

That is not the issue though.

The issue from a content guy is that with all those ways of putting my brand in front of you I take best guesses in how to reach the masses–and its very likely there is a good number of people I will miss.

Take this very blog for instance: people subscribe to its RSS; I auto share links via Twitter and Facebook; usually I will manually add a link to Twitter and Facebook as well; I share it to Posterous and MySpace.

You know what I don’t do though? I don’t email.  I don’t SMS. I don’t Yawa it.  Because my Twitter goes to Google Buzz, it gets Buzzed, but not directly.

In the case of this blog-since its more of a hobby and less of a vocation that’s OK with me.  But what would happen if disseminating my musings was my full-time gig?

Case Study 1:  Over the weekend, my beloved New York Islanders held its annual prospect scrimmage game Blue v. Orange at the Nassau Coliseum.  I knew because I follow the Islanders on Twitter the game would be available via streaming on the New York Islanders website.  I stopped by the game for a bit and then watched the skills competition at home on-line.

While reading a recap of the game on a blog not affiliated with the Islanders Islanders Point Blank I found out not all fans knew that the game was available on-line.  Perhaps these folks don’t follow Twitter?  Perhaps there was no email from the Isles announcing the game stream?  I really don’t know.  But clearly there was some swath of Isles Nation missed by publicity for the game.  To these people the term “fail” became part of the post-game lexicon.

Case Study 2: This one seems kind of quaint frankly, but its real.  As long time readers know, I work for CBS Mobile and part of my job is to bring apps for smart-phones to market.  The beauty of smart phones is that its like carrying a small computer in your pocket–and its capabilities are overwhelming.  Social media apps, sharing, SMS and even old-school (for new media) email.  Know what the one sharing mechanism that when it’s not there people want? Email.

It’s now standard in all the apps that my group brings to market-the ability to share the app and share content via email but this was not always the case.  Lesson learned.

Yesterday I spent some time reading some post-release notes from a highly successful app launch by a company called “tap, tap, tap.”  In it, the CEO of the company referred to email sharing as “of course.”  He too has learned an important lesson.

Be where your audience is.

Here are some non-scientific guidelines:

  1. Be accessible.  Don’t make a social strategy the beginning, middle and end of product–but make it ingrained and make it easy to scale so you can quickly react to the Flickr or Yawa audience you may be surprised by.
  2. Remember is social media–make sure its sociable from the product out.
  3. Beat the bushes and engage.

Wired For Action. Now What?

July 1, 2010

For whatever set of reasons this year, the NHL and NBA kicked off free agency on the same today-today.  Now while most of the sports minded NYC folks are focused on where’s LeBron James is going-will it be Knicks, Nets or much to everyone in NYC’s dismay elsewhere-I’ve been focused on NHL free agency.  Are the Islanders really only a big defenseman and back-up goalie away from NHL relevancy?

So I muddle through my morning commute with all the LeBron talk–and now I am in the office and raring to go.  My Twitter bud BD Gallof has his excellent site Hockey Independent primed for action.  And over there is another Twitter (and I met him a long time ago when I worked for News 12) bud Chris Botta who once worked for the Islanders and now is a writer covering the NHL for Fanhouse and keeps a really good all things Islanders Blog up and running on my computer at work along with my Tweetdeck.

Now all I need is word that Eric Nystrom is coming home.  Aaron Asham or Andy Sutton will get a return engagement in Uniondale.  Garth Snow spent some of Charles Wang’s money to bring in Jordan Leopold (of all the moves this is the one I was hoping for, but was least likely to happen).

So I am all set, raring to go–and what happens?  Well the hated cross town Rangers sign an enforcer to a four-year contract.  The Devils make some nice pick ups.  The Sabers signs Leopold.  Any my beloved NY Islanders?  Nothing.

Now, I am very sure Garth Snow (Isles GM for those uninitiated) is working the phones and “sticking to the plan.”  But still–just once for all that prep it would have been nice to see some good Islanders news go by.

Alas–thanks for a pretty interesting season Marty Biron-we’ll see you on Broadway.  Jeff Tambellini–best of luck in Vancouver.

For those left waiting for the Uniondale crew to make a move–its nine days until the mini-camp game at the Coliseum and then a little more than two months until the puck drops.

OK-back to baseball.  Lets go Mets.


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