Does Twitter have to be useful?

March 19, 2007

Picture_10 Maybe I’m missing the point.

You cannot throw a cat without hitting a blog talking about Twitter.  Everyone seems to have pretty strong opinions about it.  It seems to be a love  or hate thing.

A couple Twitter bits of love:

Kevin Lim’s Theory is the Reason goes into incredible depth on its who’s using it, why they’re using it and how to use it better.

Tara Hunt of Horse•Pig•Cow exalts Twitter for helping her keep grips on her thoughts, activities and friends.

A bit of Twitter disdain:

Kathy Sierra’s Creating Passion Users suggests that Twitter is further strain on our already stretched attention spans and ability to focus.

Darren Barefoot at takes a shot or two at Twitter and then does a very funny look at what Shakespeare’s Twitter entries might look like.

And now…love or hate, people are working hard at justifying Twitter’s existence by morphing it into a business tool.  Mike Sansone has an interesting idea over at Converstations about how to use Twitter for finite teams.

Even Technorati’s Buzz TV is getting into the conversation.

Here’s my question.  Why?

Are we at a point where we can’t just enjoy it as both a distraction and a diversion?   That it’s a link to our friends and colleagues and sometimes they say something interesting and sometimes not?   It’s fun.  Sometimes its serious and sometimes it silly.  In the week that I’ve been using it, my friends have made me laugh out loud and stop and think.

I’m not so sure it needs to be anything more.  At least not for me.

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It’s not art, it’s a website

February 25, 2007

Picasso Fine artists sign their works.  I get that.  It’s art.

Apparently many web designers are aspiring Picassos.  There’s a trend initiated by web design companies that I just don’t get.  It’s the "signature line" that they believe they’re entitled to place at the bottom of their clients’ websites.

"Website designed by XYZ" is a prevalent footer on many commercially designed websites.  I am here to tell you, as a client — just say no.

I have no idea how this trend started.  Can you imagine seeing a TV spot and then, as part of the close hearing "this spot was created by Weiden + Kennedy?"  Or seeing McLellan Marketing Group at the bottom of a print ad in one of our client’s trade pubs?  Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it?

And yet, clients across the land don’t blink an eye when the company they are paying decided to use that site as an advertisement for themselves!

I think the ONLY acceptable exception to this rule is if the web design company donates their services.  Then, they deserve the credit line.

If you’re a client out there — check your site and if there’s a fine art signature at the bottom, e-mail your web company and ask them to remove it immediately.

If you’re a web company — why not differentiate yourself in the marketplace by acknowledging that you understand you’re creating a business tool for your clients and will treat it accordingly.

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Everyone’s a twitter about Twitter

February 19, 2007

Picture_1_1 Twitter, by their own FAQ definition is "a community of friends and strangers from around the world sending updates about moments in their lives."

After watching it for a week or so, I decided to give it a try, as you can see in the right hand column of this blog.  Like it or not, you will now be able to peek into the deep and dark recesses of  my mind.  Best tie a rope around your waist so you can pull yourself out when you’ve had enough!

What value does it bring?  Why does it matter?  Why would I add it to my world?

I can’t tell you yet, because I don’t know.  There is something incredibly interesting to me about sharing both the mundane and the monumental moments that, in a flash, are gone. 

When I did a Google blog search, I discovered that lots of people have already been talking about twitter.  So I thought I’d give you a snippet of their perspectives. 

David Armano (Logic + Emotion) wonders if Twitter will be polluted by product placement.
Kathy Sierra  (Creating Passionate Users) who makes the argument that our brains just can’t take much more.
Robert Scoble (Scobleizer) is all about maxing his Twitter contact list.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.   You can also go  here, here or here.

From a personal perspective — it’s almost like having a secret friend you can whisper to.  Of course, you need to remember that your secret friend is a blabbermouth and anyone can listen in. 

From a marketing perspective — what do you think it says?  I wonder if it is more evidence of how, in this uber connected world, many people feel even less connected and less heard.  Or perhaps it means our blended obsession with technology and instant gratification has taken on a whole new level.

What do you think it means?

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Is that an r?

February 7, 2007

Picture_3_1 Seriously — I get that we need these things to avoid the bots leaving 3,256 comments.  But must we make them so difficult for a middle-aged human to read?

Or am I the only one that ends up re-doing them because I cannot distinguish between a v and a u?

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Second Life’s shelf life

January 29, 2007

Secondlife I think we are in the midst of a time of chaos.  Cool chaos, but chaos none-the-less.

Marketers are scrambling around, trying to get a handle on this whole social media “thing.”    And we don’t want to miss anything — so we’re trying a little of everything.

Including Second Life.

Let me give you my take, by asking you a few questions.

  • Would you like to ask your prospects to download a special software, just so you can talk to them?
  • Do you want to create a persona (maybe a pirate’s wench or archaeologist) and deal with other people who have done the same?
  • As a consumer, do you have time to navigate a cartoon you around, trying to find other adults, let alone other business people, to engage with?
  • Would you trust market research done with no controls or any reassurance that the participants are being truthful (remember, they are telling you they’re a biker dude from Fresno)
  • Do you sell a commodity (music CDs, software downloads) or are you a huge budget (Starwood Hotels, Toyota) advertiser — if not — is this really a viable venue for your sales efforts?

If you want, go be a pirate’s wench.  Have some fun. But I wouldn’t plan on making your fortune there.  (Unless of course you pillage a village!)

Update:  I was listening to Mike Sansone’s blogtalk radio show and one of the topics covered was Second Life.

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A writer’s tool (instrument, device, etc)

January 21, 2007

Boy, do I love this!

The Visual Thesaurus has added a whole new dimension to the age-old tool.  It adds connectivity.  When you enter in a word, it displays the word…and shows you how it connects to synonyms.  When you click on one of the synonyms, it opens up a whole new "word web" with related words.

Count This is what I see when I enter the word "count."

This is what happens when I click on the word enumerate, from the count page.

You really have to experience it 3-D to understand how powerful a tool this could be for you.

You can take it for a test drive, but if you fall in love with it like I did, you’ll have to shell out some cash. 

You won’t care.

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AdAge jumps on the YOU bandwagon!

January 8, 2007

Adage Following in TIME’s footsteps, AdAge announced that the winner for their annual agency of the year award is YOU. Well not quite YOU.  They defined it as "The Consumer" but basically you win again!

Read more about their choice
and rationale and hear from the Editor’s POV why the  stories like  Lonelygirl15 and the Mentos/Coke experiment swayed their decision.

In case the articles are not evergreen, here are PDF versions.

Download adagestory.pdf
Download adageeditor.pdf

But here’s what I am wondering.  So what?   From your perspective, is it just nice validation for those early adopters who are blogging and YouTube?  Does it change the way you intend to market your business? 

Should it?

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Brand yourself with a ringtone!

January 5, 2007

Phone How a person brands themselves changes over time.  Clothing labels, playing certain positions on sports teams,  and Girl Scout badges evolve to the type of car you drive, your personalized plates and today in our all-tech world — cell phone ringtones.

Remember when you thought having personalized ringtones were a crazy fad the kids were into?  Now, it’s absolutely mainstream.  So here’s my question.

If you could only use one song for your universal ringtone (so everyone in your world and your general vicinity) would hear it and associate it with you — what song would you choose?  Let me give you a running start.

My fellow Iowa blogger Doug Mitchell mentioned PhoneZoo at breakfast this morning. 

Look at some of the ringtones you can have sent to your phone for free.

Are you an intense guy who’s life is sort of 24/7?  How about the theme song to "24" or Mission Impossible?

Are you whimsical and short?  How about the Oompa Loompa song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?

I know…feeling silly and colorful?  Why not sound like Fred Flintstone or Peanut Butter Jelly Time from The Family Guy?

Go ahead….brand yourself with a song!

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:60 ticks marketing tip: I spy

January 4, 2007

60ticks_1 Grab it fast…it’s gone in about a minute.  A :60 ticks marketing tip is 150 words or less…so read it in a minute and implement it in the next!

Research shows that nearly 100% of client decision makers check out the web sites of any service provider (B-to-B) they’re considering.  Once a week, generate a report of the URLs that have visited your site and do a little homework in advance of their call!   

That’s it….go put it into action!

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What do you suppose is up with this?

December 24, 2006

Image representing as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase

Amazon is trying something new

  • What do you suppose they gain by creating this new interface? 
  • Is it something you’ll use? 
  • How would you determine the credibility of the answers you got?
  • How would you reassure someone of the credibility of the answers you offered?


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