Great Blogger Dinner

I have to agree with Nathan, I really enjoyed the dinner last night. I am always skeptical getting together with a group of people you have never met. Tried it a couple of times to no avail, but this time it was a good connection. When I got home I told my wife that it was really nice to have a conversation where everyone else had more experience in blogs, and social media in general, than I did.Blogger_dinner I really hope we get the local Social Media Group off the ground!

That’s me in the middle…

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My 1st Blogger Meet-Up

Hi, it’s me again. Been away for awhile, mainly working on the dark blog. Anyway, I am heading off to my first blogger meet-up tonight (if you don’t count conferences). Nathan Gilliatt of Net Savvy organized the gathering. Here are the details, not that anyone will see this in time to make any difference.

Looking forward to it.

Also looks like big news on the job front here. Not 100% official yet, so I have to wait to tell all, but soon…

Social Media is about The Rest of Us

On Monday I attended Healthcare Blogging Summit in Washington DC. This was a sub-conference of the Consumer Health World conference. The keynote speaker was Steve Rubel from Edelman. Steve gave a great presentation defining "Social Media". I took some notes and picked up some new ideas. One of the main points I picked up was his metaphor for social media as a "universe" that is populated by "galaxies" (centers of gravity such as mySpace, YouTube), "stars" (the A-List Celebrities), "planets" (the B&C list), "shooting stars" (flash-in-the-pan: Diet Coke and Mentos), and "comets" (recurring themes: authencity, transparency). It is a good image and I will probably use it.

The next thing he talked about was how to effectively operate in the social media space. Four simple points:

  • Find
  • Listen
  • Engage
  • Empower

The first three were to me straightforward and part of the story I try to tell others. The last point, Empowerment, was a light bulb. I had never carried the thought process to the next logical step. Empowerment is really the fundamental element of social media. To be honest, the light bulb did not really turn on until today (sometimes I process rather slowly).

My new mantra is:

Social Media is anything that empowers the rest of us.

Up until now, whenever I have been asked "What is social media?", I would usually list a string of technology terms. "It’s blogs & wikis & RSS & social networks & …" Not a very satisfying or compelling answer.

Now I have something to say.

Steve, thanks for the spark. I think that sometimes it takes listening to the words for a long time before you really hear the meaning.

Is IP Good?

I think Kathy Sierra is great. Her last two posts are related to memes that I have been tinking about for some time, I just haven’t been thinking about them out loud on my blog. First, the relationship between good ideas and execution (leading to my theme for this post), and second recognizing the value single contributors bring to organizations. So with a little coaxing from Kathy…

In the years ahead when someone is finally able to do the Big Analysis, it will be determined that the principle of intellectual property (IP) has done more to retard innovation than to advance it. The incumbent thinking is that unless I can protect my ideas and be allowed to monitize them, I have no incentive to spend time coming up with new ideas. That is a load of C**p. People will always spend time coming up with new ideas because:

  • it’s fun
  • I need it for myself

I think open sourcing of ideas has the potential to generate far more innovation than the predominate walled-garden approach. Walled gardens seem to be effective in making a few people very rich and creating large plodding organizations.

Money should come from exectuion not ideas. By locking up the rights to IP, producers become lazy and complacent, creating their own little monopoly and don’t have to worry what users think. Think about how good customer service would be if everyone had the freedom to build their business on any idea available, and had to compete primarily on execution.

I think that, among other things, one outcome would be fewer large companies with nicknames like "the evil empire". Instead we would have cooperative networks of smaller organizations opperating on more of a community model. I just like fantasizing about it.

Just imagine if Linus Torvalds had gotten the contract from IBM instead of BG…

Next Generation Marketing

It seems to me that the Social Networking space is heating up. MySpace seems to be all the rage. I am certain that some organizations are trying to figure out how to flip this phenomenon into a marketing advantage. The first mention of this I have seen is MarthaSpace. I have also seen companies trying to embed some social network functionality into their Web 1.0 site.

I think the next step is to build vertical network communities with a hugh amount of functionality (blogs, RSS, OPML, Pics, video, Tags, aggregrators, etc) but using  accessible metaphors (Journal vs. blog, Bulletin board vs. del.icio.us, for example). Give the community free access. Charge those that want to provide information to that community.

The community must have value in and of itself just based on the community members. As traffic to the community grows, the price content providers are willing to pay goes up. The key to making this work is to define a focused community that clearly has a common thread that content providers can clearly target.

The problem that advertisers have with something like MySpace is that there is no clear focus, almost any organization could advertise there, and the impact would not be much more effective than advertising on broadcast media.

I know what this should look like, but alas I have not have the tech skills to build it. Anyone interested in having a conversation?

More Thinking…

Maybe creating another Social Site isn’t the answer. Maybe the approach should be some sort of vertical meta-data site that finds and aggregrates blogs and other social content from all sources. An add-on could be simple "in-house" tools for those not currently active and don’t have the resources (time, knowledge, etc.) to go about setting up their own environment. These are people that don’t care about tech stuff, they just want to engage in the conversation.