Why I Won’t Stop Blogging

Steve Rubel announced last week that he was going to stop “blogging” in favor of “lifestreaming” (the sharing of more immediate snippets of micro-media), and this opened up some interesting discussion among bloggers, well-summarized here by Louis Gray (and I agree with Louis’ perspective).

Now I do admit that I am re-examining the tools for on-line sharing of networked communications, spurred in part by the expanded capabilities of the new iPhone, which will allow for simpler sharing of photos, video, and audio. I’m playing with Posterous as a way to have a one-stop media  distribution center (digital sharehouse?), and some of this definitely falls into the “lifestream” category.

But stop blogging? No way.

There is value in sharing a beautiful picture, or a quick audio, or an interesting link, or a snippet of thought. The conversation and easy banter on Twitter and Facebook is enriching, no doubt. But for development of thought, more detailed analysis of ideas, ongoing discussion of topics, and 360-degree expression of personal and/or business message – you simply cannot replace a blog.

We live in an increasingly fragmented world which encourages the development of shorter and shorter attention spans. I don’t see that as necessarily a good thing. Writing a blog, and reading a longer-form post by others, forces us to think, to develop a train of thought, to react to more detailed explanation and argumentation. I hope we never lose that. A life stream is one thing. A well-crafted blog, over time, becomes a thought-river.

UPDATE: Robert Scoble writes an interesting piece on the enduring value of a blog vs. the more ephemeral entries on micro-blogging sites. Plus, Chris Brogan on Strategic blogging. Both of these perspectives make it clear why blogging is not going away.

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Creativity Reawakened

I used to take a lot of pictures.

When I was single, and in the days of marriage before kids, my camera (a 35mm SLR for those old enough to remember pre-digital days!) was a regular companion. I delighted in nature photography, often using slide film (farewell, Kodachrome!). Did some experimentation with black-and-white, and some macro stuff. It was a hobby, a creative outlet, and what developed was “the eye” – I’d always walk around thinking about how some scene would be composed as a photograph. I’d look for pictures.

All that changed once the realities of career and children set in.

Sure, I would now take pictures of the kids, and, on trips away, the creative urge might re-awaken. But by-and-large, the impulse to see and create photographs was submerged. I missed the outlet, but I was immersed in other, demanding priorities.

My cameras mostly languished, little-used, as the creative drive was temporarily replaced by functional picture-taking. And my ventures into video ended up the same way – it was a lot of work to bring equipment, set it up, download and edit, etc., and usage was mainly functional.

When digital photography came on the scene, the remarkable immediacy and ease of use help bring about a brief re-awakening. I remember well the day after the birth of our last son over 7 years ago, when a glorious morning led to a flurry of lovely pictures in the scenic lakeside area that is between our house and the hospital. Nonetheless, the demands of life kept the creative fires burning low, and the quality of digital cameras still had a ways to go – especially as cell phones began to make picture-taking and sharing drop-dead simple.

Fast forward to spring 2008. A first generation iPhone in hand, I began to fall back in love with taking pictures. It was all-in-one, it was convenient and sharable, it had crossed the threshold of easy. Most of my pictures we were more on the level of friends-and-family, however – quick shots to share. Because the quality was good but not exceptional, and there was no ability to focus. The camera did not inspire an artistic and creative sensibility.

PurpleFleur smAll of that changed with the new iPhone 3GS.

For all of the many new and improved capabilities in the device, the most surprising effect, for me, has been a burst of photographic creativity. The camera is now higher quality, and allows focusing and close-up shots in an astonishingly simple interface. It now allows video capture, again with great simplicity and pretty good quality. And best of all, I now suddenly find myself walking around with “the eye” engaged, not on rare occasion, but every day and everywhere. Because I can compose quality pictures (and video) using an always-ready device, edit and share with ease and immediacy, and now I’m back to viewing the world the way I used to when I was a young buck with his Nikon.

I’m seeing pictures again. Eye and mind and heart are re-awakening to the world around me, which can be captured and viewed with a creative impulse unhindered by preparation and process. I get up in the morning, and often wander out in the yard, iPhone in hand, wondering again at dewdrops and flower buds, at shapes and sun and shadow. It’s not just an increase in technical capabilities. It’s a boost in happiness.

I knew I was getting a better iPhone. But I didn’t anticipate getting back something very important that had gone drowsy. A reawakening of creativity.

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Good-bye, Social Media – Hello, Networked Communications

So, today Steve Rubel announces that he is done “blogging”, and now is fully committed to a more full-faceted path called “lifestreaming.” His post is titled So Long, Blogging, Hello Lifestreaming!

What he’s doing is, in fact, not that radical – we’ve been moving rapidly in this direction for a while. Because the fact is – the real issue isn’t whether we “blog” or “micro-blog” or “Tweet” or “Facebook” or whatever. Those terms and brands are temporary labels we have for the early-on way we’re now using technology to…share. To express ourselves, and connect with others.

We’re evolving rapidly in ability to share, not just via long-form formats (books, blogs), but also quick thoughts, pictures, videos, music, and whatever else. Each of these things ended up with their own terms, and have been ranged roughly under the moniker “social media.”

I’d like to adapt Steve’s title to say good-bye to social media. The term, that is; which really isn’t adequate to describe what we’re doing. For some professionals, the term “social” is an immediate turnoff. And we’re sharing more than media – we’re communicating/connecting/collaborating in multi-faceted ways. There is a social element to it, of course, and media is part of this gig. But the term isn’t scalable.

So….hello, Networked Communications. That, in fact, in all facets, and no matter how it evolves, is what we’re doing, on both personal and professional levels. Whether it’s community-building, tweeting, sharing media, marketing, lifestreaming – it’s all networked communications (which, by the way, includes the off-line component of how we relate to one another).

We’re going to burn through existing and new platforms over the coming years, and they’ll get more sophisticated in their abilities to let us network and communicate. Whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Posterous, blogs, Flickr (perhaps even my dream platform, Metamee) – the bits and pieces  don’t really matter, they’ll evolve and converge. Each of them is an Expression and/or Connection Engine, all enabling our brave new world of networked communications. Which is same world of networked communications we used to have, amped up on tech steroids.

We’ve always communicated. We’ve always had and built networks. Now we have quickly-evolving tools that will let us more effectively express ourselves and connect with others, for marketing, for fun, for socializing, for enterprise efficiency, for help…for whatever we do.

Good-bye, “social media.” You were a nice first love. You’re not going to die, you’re becoming bigger and better. But with upgraded capabilities come better titles. I’m moving on to Networked Communications. ‘Cause that’s what we do.

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Free eBook: Getting Started with Social Networking

You’re Being “Tivo’ed”!

tivocomm

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A Dose of Disenchantment

A note to all of us:

You knew it couldn’t last. You always knew, right?

Whenever we get our hopes up beyond what is realistic, we set ourselves up for a fall. Nonetheless, it is human nature to get “enchanted” – to think that something or someone is going to help us transcend the flawed and crooked, and reach new heights.

Now that the bloom is off the rose, and greater awareness has brought more undesirable elements (and attitudes) into social media, it’s easy to feel a sense of disenchantment. What happened to our nice little club? Weren’t we latching onto something that would “change everything”? (actually, social networking is changing a lot of things! -just not human nature…)

midasWhether it’s a significant other who turned you head over heels at first, then turned out to be a heel later, or elected officials who promise the world but won’t keep their word, the reality of our human condition inevitably leaves the taste of disappointment in our mouths.

I’m going to say that that’s a good thing. Not that we are so messed up and selfish that we often seem to have a reverse-Midas-touch, but that we face reality. I’ve run this track long enough to conclude that there are no earthly panaceas. Or if there are, they are immensely well-hidden!

However I, like many of us, remain an idealist. I aspire to higher and better. Yet I’m forced to be a realist as well. Disenchantment (with ourselves and others) is a fact of life. It can drive us down, but it should drive us forward.

Disenchantment means that you haven’t lost your ideals. It means that you want something better. The key is to embrace the discomfort of reality while still pushing ahead. It’s not easy. But let’s allow our temporary infatuations with nirvana to pass without becoming cynical or defeated by the doses of disenchantment. When we no longer have the capacity to be disappointed, we’re truly in bad shape.

[updated 6/25]

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(Image credit)

Why it’s Stupid to Ignore Social Networks

WhatmeworrySome folks who are immersed in more traditional marketing roles, or older-media journalistic endeavors, seem to enjoy dissing social networking, by focusing on the noise ratio, the amateur status of users, and the relative instability that comes with emerging technology.

We’re the experts. You need our filters. You need our apparatus.

No, we don’t. Many events have conspired to underscore this truth, but this past week in Iran has shown, in stark colors, why it is really stupid to ignore the power of social networks.

The raw news and heartbreaking images have been generated primarily by citizens on the ground, not by official news bureaus and spinmeisters. And if you haven’t noticed, that is occurring on all levels of society, in every country, on every level.

    Social networks provide immediacy.

    Social networks provide raw and multiple points of view, from citizen thought-leaders and just plain citizens.

    Social networks provide access to private details, some of which ARE the real news.

    Social networks amplify and multiply impact.

Laugh, if you will, at the “who cares what so-and-so ate for breakfast?” Sure, there’s trivia on social networks. But there’s also reality, and connectivity (and there’s plenty of garbage in the Triviaditional Media). I haven’t purchased a newspaper out of a machine for months, nor do I often tune into a live TV broadcast. But I remain quite well-informed without some official outlet telling me what they want me to hear.

There will always be a place for professional journalism, and professional marketing. But it will increasingly NOT be the position of supremacy. That boat has left the harbor. Social networks aren’t everything. But it’s very stupid indeed to ignore them.

(Alfred E Neuman image: Mad Magazine)

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Free eBook: Getting Started with Social Networking

Free e-book on Social Networking

ebookcover_sm2Have you downloaded it yet? Getting Started with Social Networking – a free e-book for those launching out into the social media world.  What’s Twitter? Why LinkedIn? What’s on “Opportunity Network”? Where do I begin?

Click to download: Getting Started with Social Networking. A condensed slide show is also available here on Slideshare.

The Morning After – First Impressions of iPhone 3GS

RestoreinProgress2Yesterday, the long-awaited iPhone 3GS arrived at the front door. I loved my first-generation iPhone, and after accidentally causing its early demise a month or so ago, I couldn’t wait for the newest version. But would the upgrade experience be a pleasure or a nightmare? I was a bit apprehensive.

So let’s start with the “get it in the front door and up-and-running” user experience. Ordering the new phone on-line was zero-hassle. Delivery was on-time and as promised. Syncing the new iPhone with my existing account and iTunes setup was…FLAWLESS! It. just. worked.

I realize that other users have had issues, but kudos from this address to Apple and AT&T for making a plug-and-play process that required very little intervention.

Now, for the device itself:

1. Speed – yes, indeed, thank you VERY much. Bear in mind that I was used to the 1st gen, and skipped over the 3G. This puppy rocks, from bootup to e-mail delivery to everything else. 5 out of 5 smiles.

2. Camera – awesome. Great resolution, very crisp video, and amazing simple and intuitive on-screen controls. These Apple people know user interface. I wish it could zoom, but hey. 4.5 out 5 smiles.

3. Audio – very cool. The new Voice Memo rocks – great graphic/on-screen interface, dirt simple, crisp audio, one-click forward to e-mail if you want. I’m going to use this a lot for thought capture. 4.5 out of 5 smiles.

4. Form factor/feel – sweet. Very compact, rounded edges, no problems here. It’s like a t-shirt from a brand you love – you just want to show it off. 5 out of 5 smiles.

Social Media app interfaces continue to impress. I get TweetDeck up and running-and-sync’ed with my desktop (with a little help from my Twitter friends – thanks, Amber (@ambercadabra)!

I have not yet had a chance to dig into a lot of the capabilities and subtleties, but for this user’s first impression-level experience – just plain awesome! I’m not easily impressed. As for now…I’m both impressed and delighted!

And THAT is how you create word-of-mouth evangelists…

Bye-Bye, Social Media Die

This is part 2 of the Death of Social Media™ (part 1 is here, wherein we recount how the doomsayers are predicting the demise of SocMed, and the haters are rejoicing). Alan Wolk and I were exchanging. via Twitter, ludicrous traffic-inducing blog headlines about this doomsday scenario, which is how this 2-part “series” was birthed.

For those of an earlier generation, the lyrics and melody of Don McLean’s “Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie” will remain forever embedded in perma-memory – if you’re not familiar with it, here’s a performance on YouTube, and here are the original lyrics.

Now, onto the show…

Bye-Bye, Social Media Die

A short, short time ago
I can still remember how that Twitter used to
Make me smile
And I knew that if I had my chance
I could make those people tweet
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

Did you write a blog for nerds
And do you have faith in Zuckerberg
If the Scoble tells you so
Now do you believe in baiting links
And can Brogan save your blog that stinks
And can you teach me how to Plurk real slow

Well, I know that you’re in love with Guy
‘Cause I saw you tweetin’ on the fly
You both linked up your tribes
Man, I dig those linkback vibes

I was a lonely soc med guru schmuck
With a pink MacBook Pro and a rubber duck
But I knew that I was out of luck
The day the Soc Med died
I started singing…

Bye-bye, Social Media Die
Drove my traffic via bit.ly
But the stats were awry
And good old boys were linkin’ Godin and Guy
Singing this’ll be the day that it dies
This’ll be the day that it dies

I clicked an URL whose link was blue
And I pinged it for some happy news
But it just crashed my Chrome and went away
I scanned my feeds as I had before
But all I got was 404′s
I couldn’t even read Olivier

Well now, at their desks the tweeters screamed
The bloggers cried, and the spammers schemed
But not a word was written
Not even by Laura Fitton
And the gurus I admire the most
Loren, Ev and Kevin Rose
They made a name, then it was toast
The day the Soc Med died

We started singin’…

Bye-bye, Social Media Die
Drove my traffic via bit.ly
But the stats were awry
And good old boys were linkin’ Godin and Guy
Singing this’ll be the day that it dies
This’ll be the day that it dies

(do I really think Social Media is dying? Of course not. Here’s how I see the evolution unfolding…)

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Why I Follow…Jay Ehret

jay ehretHe’s bald. He’s smart. He’s friendly. And he’s not afraid to take a stand and be a little provocative.

I like Jay Ehret (@themarketingguy on Twitter) because he’s for real. Or I should say, fer real, since he’s from Texas. But he’s made me an honorary Texan since I love BBQ, so that really makes him OK.

Jay is active on Twitter, not only sharing valuable links, but also interacting quite naturally. That’s the best combo in my book.

Jay’s blog is the The Marketing Spot, and it’s well worth your while to subscribe and read regularly. Because he’s not some flash in the pan newbie with social media stars in his eyes. He knows the landscape. And he’s a great fellow. Sorry – feller.

That makes Jay my #FollowFriday recommendation for today. That is all.

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8 Ways Social Media Gurus will both Hate and yet Leverage the Impending Death of Social Media

twitterdeadVarious not-to-be-named Internet experts have announced the impending Death of Social Media™. This has caused distress among the “twittering classes” of social media gurus, who see their lives, emotional well-being, and even livelihoods threatened by this shark-jumping portent of doom.

Nonetheless, the virtual world as we know it will not end. In fact, this will simply be another evolutionary step forward – yet another way for the Guru Strata™ to maintain their position of influence in that series of tubes we call the Interwebs.

Here are 8 ways to leverage the Death of Social Media while still proclaiming to hate it:

    1. Launch a new conference series, “Preparing for the Death of Social Media in 140 Characters.” ™ Beside soaking the masses for registration, charge Apple $25 for every Mac laptop and iPhone seen on the premises.

    2. Charge for a blogging course, “How to blog about the demise of blogging” and give away to all registrants the 29 biggest secrets to AdSense revenue that will die along with your blog.

    3. Put together a conference called, let’s say, UnBlog Chesapeake, ™ collect loads of money from the masses, and then bloviate forth with expertise on how gurus can unwind their social media involvement and find real jobs.

    4. Do sponsored tweets, lose all your followers, get a little bit of revenue while the getting is good, then proclaim how your experience shows that we are at the tipping point of the Death of Social Media.

    5. Charge thousands for a new research report on how the Death of Social Media will lead to the demise of social media gurus, but the ascent of a new Guru Strata class, the Trendalyst. ™ Wait. I think we’ve already got this..

    6. Create a campaign to help millions erase their Facebook profiles with a new tool, the CleanMyFace. ™ Charge extra for zapping MySpace.

    7. Open a series of Micro-blog Recovery Centers ™ where the truly addicted can come for daily appointments, pretend to tweet with make-believe friends, and feel “connected” once again before facing the real world.

    8. Shave your head and write a book called “Islands” ™, a follow-up to the “Tribes” concept, extolling the virtues of every man being an island in a desolate wasteland of human disconnectedness.

As for me, I think I’ll launch a site called AllFlop, where we can easily track (by topic) the dead pool of all those deceased social media apps.

Yep, great times are ahead. Now’s the time to get ahead of the curve by ripping down your blog, erasing your tweets, and showing the rest of the world how to enjoy the Death of Social Media. Don’t be left behind!

UPDATE: Part 2 of this vital series is here: Bye-bye, Social Media Die (the new anthem for the end of social media).

(do I really think Social Media is dying? Of course not. Here’s how I see the evolution unfolding…)

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The Dread of Anticipation

BrokeniPhoneAfter losing my 1st generation iPhone in a tragic training accident several weeks back, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of the new, 3rd generation iPhone 3GS. I decided to forego buying the soon-to-be outclassed 3G model, and, limping by with a jerry-rigged GOphone, waited for the latest and greatest.

And now I find myself in that familiar state: the Dread of Anticipation.

When it arrives tomorrow (having plugged in my current identity and phone info, I ordered it on-line), will it just plug-and-play? Will it really, actually, pick up my current account, seamlessly sync with iTunes on my computer, and just WORK? Will there be no unexpected charges, glitches, and dreaded phone calls to customer support to clear up problems?

Will this upgrade cross the Threshold of Easy?

Have you found yourself, with new or updated systems, fervently hoping for the best, while pulling back the reins of excitement dreading the worst?

Either way, I’ll let you know. Good, bad, or indifferent, I’ll update the user experience on this blog. But if you hear loud whoops of happy relief echoing out of northern NJ tomorrow afternoon, you’ll know that Apple/AT&T got it right…

Update, 4:30 pm on Friday June 19th – the transfer/update/sync was FLAWLESS! Yippee!

“Ann Handley” Exposed

AnneH2During the recent MarketingProfs B2B Summit, a rogue band of “bloggerazzi” stumbled across a revelation that has rocked the blogosphere.

Mild-mannered social media maven “Ann Handley” (aka @marketingprofs) is a cover persona – a living avatar, if you will – for the marvelously-talented but long-lost film and singing star Anngelina Handlyee. The stunningly beautiful Ms. Handley was always the object of speculation among B-list bloggers, who wondered how such a dynamic luminary could be found humbly pumping out content in the obscure corners of the on-line networking world.

AnneH3Appearing Monday at the Marketing Profs event in a fetching black Maltoni 2-piece complemented with an original Armano handbag, the radiant Ms. Handley suddenly grabbed the mic and began to belt out show songs, much to the surprised delight of the gathered crowd. Her rendition of Dave Loggins’ “Please Come to Boston” was accidentally captured on blogger Beth Harte‘s iPhone Shazam music-recognition program, which identified the possessor of the world-class pipes as none other than the mysterious Handlyee, who had gone underground in 2001 after suffering fame-induced vertigo and a broken left pinkie nail.

AnneH4The bloggerazzi quickly gathered around the iPhone, and marveling that there was indeed an app for everything, decided to expose Ms. Handley then and there as the famous star Anngelina Handlyee. Not just any public humiliation would do, however. The news was tweeted, first in a mocking DM to Anngelina (who looked positively ravishing on Tuesday morning in a tan Verdino number), then to the entire world, even with #mpb2b Retweets to increase the humiliation.

Soon a long line formed, seeking autographs, DMs, RTs, pictures, and any mementos of the occasion that could possibly be re-sold on eBay, including Anngelina’s smashing Collier earrings or her classic Jason Baer bottle opener. The gorgeous Ms. Handlyee handled the adoration with grace and poise, though a poisonous glance at blogger Amber Naslund implied that future MarketingProfs post written by this bloggerazzi figure would likely go unpublished, though probably not unpunished.

It is unknown what future roles on stage or film the lovely, but flatter-proof Ms. Handlyee may play, now that she has been “outed” from her self-imposed obscurity. However, she may not be alone in her fate. There are blogger rumors about Olivier Blanchard and the disappearance of a certain famous singer from Graceland…

Oh – here’s the real MProfs B2B Forum review

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MarketingProfs B2B Forum Re-cap: The Book

B2BForumForeward

The MarketingProfs B2B Forum was held on June 8-9 in Boston, MA. Boston, for those unfamiliar with the location, is home to Fenway Park (for you baseball junkies), Samuel Adams (for you beer junkies), and Chris Brogan (for you social media junkies). It is also the home of the largest money pit ever created before the TARP program, called the “Big Dig.” But that’s not relevant, actually. What is relevant is the startling revelation concerning “Ann Handley” that came out during the week. More on that in a later chapter.

Preface

renbostonThe Forum was held at the Renaissance Hotel, originally designed in 1781 to house the Continental Congress, and recently refurbished to include indoor plumbing, glass windows, and color TV. Oh, wait, that’s the Philadelphia one. Sorry – the Boston Renaissance is quite up to date, actually. Nicely designed meeting space, helpful staff, even a semi-reasonable set of power outlets in meeting rooms. And the MarketingProfs staff had the logistics and organization nailed. Especially nice – the open area used for breakfast roundtables and other informal gatherings.

Acknowledgments

This event could not have been possible without the labors of Roy Young, Allen Weiss, the great MP team, and the inimitable “Ann Handley,” whose secret life was finally revealed during the Forum. More on that later.

Chapter One – The Keynotes

BarrysmYou’ve heard of great timing? This B2B Forum had it. The very week that Twitter hit the cover of TIME magazine, the author of the article, Steven B Johnson, spoke to the assembled acolytes on “Why Twitter Matters.” He was engaging, funny, and very effective in his story-telling approach to presenting (Twitter as analagous to coffeehouses of a couple centuries back), and his well-designed (simple!) slides. The next day, we were treated to Barry Schwartz, professor at Swarthmore University, speaking on the topic of “Practical Wisdom,” drawing from a book he has written on that same theme. Very thought-provoking; the biggest response on the Twitter back-channel seemed to be to his distinction of job/career/calling. I got to sit next to him at lunch without realizing, at first, who he was – he proved to be as engaging in person as he was once he got up on the podium.

You want Peg Mulligan’s take? Sure you do. And Becky Pearce’s notes? Coming right up.

Chapter 2 – The Sessions

JayBaerAs always in a conference like this, there were some great sessions, and some less so, but things started off with a bang when Sandy Carter of IBM discussed some very interesting – low-cost AND effective – social media initiatives her division of the company has employed. KD Paine kicked off the second day with a nice talk on Measuring Value in Social Media. Both days also featured Hot Seat Labs, where experts critiqued, live, the web efforts of various companies represented in the hot seat panels. Overall, there was good variety in the workshop sessions, with 2-4 concurrent sessions going on at any one time. Plus, there were one-to-one therapy sessions with social media practitioners that attendees could sign up for, to get personalized expertise. Nice.

You want handouts? Why sure…here they are.

Chapter 3 – The Gastronomy

TweetupB2BI’ve been to conferences where you would not bother to write about food and drink. Not this one. The lunches included meals at round tables followed by keynotes (nice approach), and the Tuesday morning breakfast roundtables were a smash hit. Tables were set up to discuss various social media/emarketing themes, with discussions led by experts in the field – discussions were lively and helpful. Everyone loved the Monday night Tweetup, with tapas and libations, which was open not only for the conference attendees, but also to local folks who could not attend during the day but who wanted to join the socializing. And, the Monday night dinner featured strolling magicians doing card tricks – these guys were really good!

Chapter 4 – The Tweeting

MackJayThere were probably about 20 or so of us tweeting regularly throughout the conference. That makes it a bit noisy, esp. when Mack Collier and Beth Harte are contributing. :>} Mike Damphouse made some nice summaries of the tweets here and here, so I don’t have to repeat them. And Jay Baer had his own take right here. Suffice it to say the the Twitter back channel was active as usual, and many of those “outside” who couldn’t attend were suitably jealous as they read the #mpb2b tweets. Heh.

Chapter 5 – The Attendees

RoundtableThis show had about 275 people, and it was quite a mixed group. A solid majority seemed to be just discovering social media and how it can be put to use in business. Having been to a number of conferences top-heavy with “experts,” this was refreshing – a lot of these folks are in the day-to-day trenches of marketing and they’re trying to understand what many of us now take too much for granted. So there was less bleeding-edge posturing and more nitty-gritty dialogue – nice.

Oh, you wanted pictures? See what Robert Collins put together on Flickr.

Chapter 6 – The Revelation

AnneH1This turn of events was so cataclysmic – the revealing of the true identity of “Ann Handley” – that it had to be published separately, for fear that the crush of traffic would make this summary unavailable.

You’ll never think of Ann the same way again.

Because she’s really someone else.

Here’s the explosive story…“Ann Handley” Exposed.

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Appendix

A collection of blog posts is being assembled here (B2B According to Me) regarding the conference. Even Mack Collier liked it. There you will find links to the other posts put up by bloggers who are trying to butter up “Anne Handley” enough to win a free pass to the M Profs Digital Mixer in Chicago later this year. But I don’t play that game. No sirree….

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Why I Follow…Chris Brogan

EVERYONE follows Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) on Twitter. Well, there is that one fisherman in Papua New Guinea…but everyone else has already found Chris and subscribed to his tweets/blogs, right?

But why? I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ll give you two reasons why I do. First, he exemplifies what social networking is all about. His tweets are a great variety of news, resources, one-on-one conversation, and funny commentary. And I like 140-character humor, which is my second point. The guy is funny. Here’s a comment of his from this morning that almost had me snorting coffee:

“I believe if you get in the “expert” line at the TSA and you’re a doofus, that’s automatic grounds to be tazed.”

If you’re going to get started with social networking, I think one of the best things you can do is find examples. Learn by how others do it. And Chris is unmatched in that regard. Plus he’s a friendly guy in real life, which counts for a lot.

So, that’s my #FollowFriday recommendation for this week. Why do you follow Chris Brogan? Or, better yet, why do you follow someone else? Share on your blog and on Twitter…

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Does Comcast Care?

A lot of virtual ink has been expended writing about Comcast, which has embraced Twitter to provide customer service (Frank Eliason @comcastcares), but which suffers from a reputation of poor customer service in other quarters.

I don’t have Comcast here in north Jersey, but I was in Connecticut at my mother’s house yesterday, and I saw a small slice of Comcast in action.

You see, Mom recently had to get a new device (free) to handle the upcoming switchover to digital TV. Once it was installed, everything started not working. Phone help was inadequate to resolve the problem, and so a tech person was scheduled to visit the next day, between 12-2 pm.

I was out doing yard work when this tech guy pulled up (early!). The first thing I saw was a friendly face – a guy who engaged me in conversation with a smile. He then proceeded to go in the house, troubleshoot, and eventually replace some old relays on the outside of the house that weren’t “digital-ready”. Having quickly done a thorough job, and having made sure that everything was working perfectly, this fellow took his gentle laugh and smiling face and drove off to his next appointment, as a Comcast ambassador of good will.

Does Comcast care? I cannot make a blanket judgment one way or another about a huge organization. Does a certain technician servicing Berlin, CT care? He sure does. Enough to make me publicly praise him in a blog post, though I didn’t even catch his name. And that’s the point, isn’t it? Giving remarkable, caring service.

Loyalty is earned at the point of contact with customers. Hire caring people. Then folks will believe that your company cares.

Why I Follow…CK (Christina Kerley)

ckbiopicMany of the people I follow closely on Twitter are folks that I actually “met” through blogging. This month marks my 3-year milestone of actively blogging, and one of those who has been been a supportive cheerleader from early on is my friend CK (@ckEpiphany). She is my #FollowFriday recommendation for today.

Many others involved in social networking can say the same things I do about CK. She’s been a tremendous encouragement to countless folks getting started with social media, and that’s just who she is. An encourager.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting CK in real-life and hanging out several times at blogger events/tweetups, and she is fabulous at bringing people together and connecting them. She’s also an energetic what-you-see-is-what-you-get New York City gal, which is a breath of fresh air.

If you don’t know CK yet, you’re about to be enriched. Her blog is here. Read her stuff and chat her up. She’s a gem!

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