I read a quote this weekend that stuck with me. I believe in the concept anyway, but quotes are always fun to find in order to share what you think with someone else's articulation of it. Here's the quote...
“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.” — Charles Mingus
The next five fresh picks are much like that. They provide smart and simple solutions, like why the Old Spice guy might have really worked or why thinking of your blog as a loss leader is a bad idea. They show you why the media isn't trusted all the time, why chasing comments is silly, and why algorithms that include the "number of followers" don't tell the whole story.
Best Fresh Content In Review, Week of July 19
• How to Reproduce the Old Spice Video Phenomena.
I'm not a fan of the Old Spice euphoria nor the Old Spice cynicism, but John Bell did one of the best jobs asking the right questions. Was it successful? What about it made it so? And did it drive sales? But more than that, he warns people away from trying to duplicate the tactics. (Elf Yourself is no fun for hotdog buns beyond a chuckle.) Like most great advertising, it was breaking the mold that captured our attention (even if some ideas were in play before). With exception to not noting that the social media element was part of a larger campaign, including a huge coupon drop, we need more thinking like this.
• Blogs As Loss Leaders.
Chris Brogan debunks some of the myth behind considering a blog your or your company's loss leader. He suggests looking at it differently, as part of the entire value chain. While the value chain may have different parts that cary more financial weight than other parts, they are just as important. If you want an analogy to help this sink in, think of your car having a value chain. The seat might not have anything to do with getting you where you need to go, but leather sure feels better while you're getting there.
• Social Media is the Servant of Strategy, Not the Master.
Adam Singer considers the problem with comment counting, which was all the rage in determining (gasp) influence a few years ago. (If you had more comments to count, you counted more. Whatever.) Singer then goes on to point out something we can never hear enough of — drive outcomes instead. As he mentions, comments don't do much for businesses. And not all comments happen on blogs anymore, anyway. That doesn't mean to discount them. Just keep them in perspective.
• The I-Dumbing of Journalism.
Ike Pigott shares one of the most blatant and silly stories sensationalized by a media outlet. The reason is clear enough. It was a ratings period and the Oklahoma City television station knows that fear for family drives eyeballs. So it spiked up a story on audio files that kids download to make them high and how these sounds are, basically, the new gateway drug. Pigott debunks a small part of the story simply by noting that binaural or "two-tone" sounds are easy enough to come by. Telephone tones, among them.
• My Followers Are Bigger Than Yours: On Twitter, Quality Beats Quantity.
Ian Lurie has been doing an unscientific study by tracking what happens after someone retweets his posts. He noticed that people with a moderate following actually generate more responses from their RTs than people with larger followings. No surprise, he also found spammy people do not generate as much interaction, engagement or link clicks because they have already established a reputation for sharing junk. Ergo, the only place spammy guy has reach or influence is on algorithms.
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