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I’d been umming and ahhing about what to do with this URL and site for a bit as it was out-growing its location. A day off work on Friday turned into 24 hours of r&d, getting under the hood of WordPress a little bit more. When the dust had settled I had migrated all of the content over to a new URL where phase two of this sometimes mis-guided but generally alright social experiment will continue.
There are still a few kinks being ironed out in the CSS (look & feel) which will be taken care of over the next few days. For now though thanks for being with me over the past 7 or 8 months, where we go to from here is anyone’s guess. I hope to see you over at Creative Is Not A Department in the not too distant future.
All the best,
A good friend just asked me if I really thought Twitter was going to take off, and I guess around that are a host of questions on the value it offers to its users. Maki has some great thoughts on ways it adds value to its users (thanks to Jennifer Laycock for the link), but one thing that just occurred to me as my friend asked the question and I glanced at my laptop to see the conversations roll past is that it seems to operate the same way talk-back radio did (or does for those who still listen to radio).
My Dad pointed out to me years ago the things the talk-back guys were discussing were invariably the things that made newspaper headlines the next day. In the same fashion, the conversations on Twitter revolve around other newsworthy pieces of information. They may not make the front page of the New York Times, they may not even make the front page of the New York Times website, but they will invariably make it up on somebody’s blog, read by any number of people from one to a million.
In this fashion, I love Shel Israel’s notions of global neighbourhoods. I am not American but I am about as interested in the US election as a foreigner could be, and because of this I can discuss the goings on today in Florida with people actually State-side and engage in a discussion about it; I doubt there’s an audience for US politics large enough on Australian talk-back radio to make it worth anybody’s time to take the subject on. It also reminds me of something I think I read in The Black Swan, but I can’t quite remember; you can have only three readers for your blog, but those readers are the presidents of America, China and Russia, your influence out-games the raw numbers…there’s more there I think…
So with the understanding that a blog readership, no matter how small can have a significant impact on the (on and offline) world around the writer, and for a percentage of those posts to have origins in conversations on Twitter, then I think there is a role for it to play as a topic is started by The World™, discussed on Twitter, generating a blog about that discussion which incites further discussion and winds up any number of places. Or as James Governor ironically pointed out (via Marshall Kirkpatrick), if markets are conversations then Twitter is money.
*After-thought* I went back over to Twitter to think some more and saw a note from Loic about Seesmic. If Twitter is the start of a new talk-back, Seesmic is where it is going (additional thoughts on that as I get more into the service…)
One of my favourite blogs is Indexed,
written drawn by Jessica Hagy. A collection of Venn diagrams (I didn’t know they were called that either), she announced today the Indexed book was now available for pre-order. If you’re not familiar with her work, Jessica maps humorous scenarios such as the correlation between alcohol and UFO sightings or the path to drunk dialing. It takes less than ten seconds to consume each time she posts one and the fact I get to smile a few time a day at no cost to my good self seems inherently insane, but she is all the more lovely for it. Cover below, pre-order now.
As an epilogue to yesterday’s post, it’s amazing to see the folk that come out of the woods when you surface among a section of society you stepped away from. I haven’t been actively involved in games for a couple years, but as sad as yesterday’s news is, it’s wonderful to be back in touch with a bunch of people I hadn’t spoken to in years, even if most of them were calling to offer condolences for a job I hadn’t lost.
I was also reminded though of the volatility that exists within the online gaming community. It isn’t hard for me to recall posts I made to a forum of comments I made when I was a hardcore gamer. To see some of that venom directed towards Auran and in some cases me, got me thinking about things I had said, comments I had made from the outside looking in, invariably through frosted glass, only able to make out faint shadows inside but still taking it upon myself to pass judgment on what I believed lay before me.
One of the things that I love about the Web 2.0 revolution that is currently sweeping across the web, marketing, communications in general, is the exposure of real people and real lives. Hardcore gamers players are among the earliest of early adopters of technology, but with that comes handles, alter-egos and a whole lot of posturing built upon an identity that gets donned only from behind the safety of a computer screen. Parts of this remained core to my presence online until recently, I only just finally changed my email address to have my actual name in it, and I’d change the address of this blog if I had a simple way to do that (anyone with an easy tip there feel free to drop me a line). Putting yourself online and moving beyond a pseudo-identity leaves you open in a way that my online experience hasn’t been previously.
But it falls inline with the person I am when I’m offline, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I just watched a fantastic interview with a guy I’ve mentioned a couple times in as many days, Avinash Kaushik. The interview was done by Simon Chen who heads up the Eight Black group (Disclaimer: my company does a lot of work with Eight Black, they’re great people) over at the Blogworld expo in Las Vegas. When Simon first said he was headed over there, I kinda giggled in his general direction, even though I’ve been blogging since before they called it that.
If you head over however to Simon’s own blog, you’ll see that it has turned out to be a great collection of people really at the forefront of how companies talk to their customers, and people talk to each other. He has a range of discussions up with different practitioners, along with some video of talks he attended. I don’t have time to sit trhough them all, but invariably if Simon puts something up there is some sort of insight to be gleaned from it; of course I get to do that by having him in my office once a week.
The last 1:30 of his discussion with Avinash really struck a chord with me. His key message to corporates and CEOs who are scared of engaging with their customers via blogging was if you’re not doing it, then you’re not at the cutting edge of blogging. He talks enthusiastically about the upcoming generation (Disclaimer: I am Gen-Y, therefore predisposed to liking nice things said about me) and their disdain for traditional media (TV, radio, magazines etc.) and the messages contained therein. He says we’re not influenced by those things, and for the most part, he is right.
When I think about the sites I like, the writers I like, the people I respond to, the level of candour is always paramount to how I engage with them and how what they say resonates with me. I said in my very first post here that the second you say “We’re cool”, you’re not, and the same applies. You can’t tell someone your content or message is relevant, you can only sit it in front of them and say “I dig this, and if you give a shit about the things I give a shit about, then maybe you’ll dig it too.” The power comes in stepping away and leaving that choice in the consumer’s hands, in essentially acknowledging you are power-less to force the outcome you desire. The great thing about that though is when you do get voluntarily chosen by your customer, you have empowered them, you have engaged in the age old paradigm of “the customer is always right”, which was always about sitting your customer on a pedestal. Them choosing you brings you up to their level; whether you stay there or not depends entirely on you convincing them there is value in having you around.
Avinash concludes the short interview with the following missive, which I like so mch I have printed out and stuck on my wall: “If businesses want to convert their customers into evangelists…the only way to do it is to put yourself out there, participate in the social environment, have a blog, show your passion, contribute something of value and then you don’t have to talk about yourself, you can get your customers to go talk and spread your gospel, (they) will become your marketing machine.”
Amen to that!