Showing posts with label Valeria Maltoni. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valeria Maltoni. Show all posts

Thursday, April 23

Considering Content: Two Top Ten Tip Lists


There are plenty of people who might argue the point, but content is still king on the Internet. Readers, friends, associates, colleagues, etc. are all looking for the most useful information about someone, something, some service, or skill set.

After all, content searching and sourcing is the primary reason Google exists, isn't it? How about Amazon? How about Flickr? How about Etsy? Most people go to these places to look for specific content. And once they find you, the question is "did you deliver?"

I know two people who delivered this week on the topic of content management. First, Valeria Maltoni on Conversation Agent and then Kat French on the Social Media Explorer.

Something I always tell students when taking in information from different sources on how to be a better writer is to look for similarities and underlying themes. If diverse parties like Ogilvy (advertising), Princeton (academic), and KSL (journalism), and Copywrite, Ink. (communication) all say similar things, albeit differently, there might be something to it. With that in mind, this is where Maltoni and French seem to intersect:

Ten Tips For Content Management

1. Operate from a strategy and plan.
2. Provide value with the right content mix.
3. Choose the right messenger.
4. Participate with your community.
5. Recognize their participation.
6. Make good on your promises.
7. Keep it fresh by meeting their needs.
8. Consider legal and public interest.
9. Never force the sales message.
10. Know your objectives/expected outcomes.

Add the five steps most publics take to move from being aware to taking action, and you'll find all three models blend together rather nicely. So maybe there is something to it, whether you're talking about social media or communication in general.

Wednesday, November 21

Kindling The Future: Amazon Kindle


“What’s a record? A cassette tape?” — my son, 2007

“What’s a magazine stand? A dust cover?” — his son, 2037

It might look clunky at a glance, but it’s the first generation sneak peek of the future. And like most technological breakthroughs that shock the system, the Kindle, a pricey and apparently improved e-reader, is no exception.

There were 3,200 posts and counting, just yesterday, equally split between positive and negative opinion. There were 398 reviews on Amazon, delivering a divided 2.5 stars. And while Seattlest jumped with comments that included “I wouldn't use it if someone gave it to me for free,” Barnes & Noble saw its stock drop 5 percent.

All because of hyperbole before the first Kindle could ship. Yet, very few people even mentioned this fact. It was too late, with just one more example of how bloggers follow media. Social media chimes in on any story when it seems especially hot. If they don’t, their readers will be discovering new blogs, maybe better.

Here are some highlights that struck me yesterday.

"This is a disruptive approach, the sort of thing only a market leader could pull off. It changes the world in a serious way." — Seth Godin with the marketing perspective.

“It’s not going to revolutionize the industry overnight, though it sounds like Amazon is going to take this business seriously and continue to invest in it.” — Joseph Weisenthal with the tech perspective.

“Whether this will be the death of print concerns me less than if it will be yet another slow down in reading complete books -- the physical or digital kind,” — Valeria Maltoni with the human perspective (my favorite kind).

“That Jeremy is probably right. I’m excited about the new reader to be sure. But getting geeks like me excited by a new “shiny toy” is pretty easy. Getting a large market excited? That’s a LOT harder.” — Robert Scoble with the geek predictor perspective.

“So unless you live in a dark cave (without Wi-Fi) you know that the Gadget News of the Day was Amazon's release of its eBook reader called the Kindle.” — Danny Dumas, with the recap perspective, including Jose Fermoso’s roundup of eight more opinions.

Did anyone notice the media has already embraced this? They’re on the subscription list. It makes them relevant; expect many more articles ahead.

So there you go. Maybe it will be Kindle and maybe not. But there are truths inside the truth because this is playing out much like the iPhone. There was a split decision a few months back. A lot of people came out for and against it. It was all kind of silly.

But today, all that conversation is irrelevant because Apple sold 1.12 million iPhones last quarter, representing 27 percent of the smart phone market in the United States and 3 percent of the overall cell phone market.

Not bad for Apple’s first phone.

Unless there is a serious technological flaw, like charging you to put your own content on it (oh right, there is) you can expect the same with Kindle or the second generation reader that someone is already busy working on. But I don’t want to play guessing games. Instead, I’ll offer two observations.

The hyperbole is real.

Sometimes social media gives permission to craft a runaway opinion for the sake of having one. And there is nothing wrong with that. Opinions are like bottoms and everyone has one. In the age of glass bathrooms, full moons are not only invited, but some say they’re required.

The future is polar.

The Kindle aside, the technology behind it represents an opportunity to educate everyone on the planet (once there is a price point drop), giving them access to the best books ever written. And, it also represents an opportunity to enslave humankind by filtering future content and killing the last refuge of reader privacy at the same time.

“Cool,” some say. “How can I list my blog and get paid?”

Good night and good luck.

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Friday, November 2

Tagging Snackers: Conversation Agent


When Jeremiah Owyang, senior analyst for Forrester Research, presented Media Snackers, I didn’t give it much thought. I don’t believe it’s new. Like much of social media, it’s an old concept, repackaged under the premise that new media has changed everything.

Social media has changed the world; communication, not so much.

The general concept of MediaSnackers is sound, except as Owyang pointed out, it's not just young people — everyone is consuming, creating, and sharing media differently because they can access whatever, whenever, and wherever. Or, as I’ve said, passive viewers have become active consumers.

Six things that social media is changing:

• Speed of delivery
• Locality of contact
• Size of audience
• Depth of content
• Number of voices
• Degree of engagement

Six things that social media isn’t changing:

• Cognitive thinking
• Appeal of authenticity
• Varied behavioral styles
• Emotion-driven decisions
• Justifying decisions with logic
• Tendency toward organization

Social media is neither an opportunity nor a threat; it's both.

Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent, who tagged me with this topic task, used the movie Sliding Doors as a great analogy, noting that most companies size up social media as an opportunity or a thread. (That’s funny.)

It’s neither and both. That’s the beauty of social media. Much like life, you will find what you seek out. And much like life, you ignore it at your own peril.

Do I change my communication to cater to media snackers?

I don’t. Not really. I don’t believe effective communication begins with a medium. It begins with a deep appreciation of communication, which starts by recognizing that varied people have varied behaviors and respond to communication differently. The best communication makes sense to anyone even if it changes no one.

Social media has not changed this. However, for meme purposes, here are few tactics that media snackers might appreciate (no order):

• Employing Twitter, networks, and aggregates like snack shelves
• Finding key information from multiple sources and noting patterns
• Bolding critical information, points, quotes, or adding subheads
• Allowing readers to determine their own depth of interest
• Engaging people in comments, allowing them to share input
• Mixing and matching styles, stories, and analogies for fun
• Hiding full-course meals in many of these daily media snacks
• Serving up honesty and authenticity, even if it means telling people I like that they have mustard on their chins (and asking people to do the same for me)

So what do I think about social media snackers? I think that they are yummy. But then again, I like everybody, which is while I’ll tag: John Sumser, Jeremy Pepper, Doug Meacham, Lee Odden, and Steven Silvers for their take on social media snacks.

(Thanks to Kami Huyse, who published a list of contributors today.)

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Friday, August 17

Understanding Gumballs: From Trunk To Maltoni

If there is one secret to be learned after conducting hundreds and thousands of interviews, ranging from an emotionally exhausted mother staying at a Ronald McDonald House to billionaire Sheldon Adelson, it is that the success of any interview hinges on effective communication.

And, if there is any prerequisite to ensure effective communication, it is to see the interviewee as a person, regardless of any perceived labels — status, position, gender, whatever. The concept is simple. The execution is not.

For the past few months, one label that seems to have galvanized, if not polarized, online communities and bloggers is the most basic of all — gender. To this ongoing discussion in its numerous forms, I say gumballs.

Right, gumballs. You know what I mean. When we were all kids and could not care less about silly things like gender, most of us claimed certain gumballs were better than others — blue, red, yellow. We were all delusional. The gumballs all tasted the same.

The gender issue is much like that. It doesn't matter where it turns up. Last month it appeared on a post penned by the popular blogger Penelope Trunk when she abandoned career conversations in favor of sharing her perspective on her marriage, which quickly turned into a war of words about gender.

“So I’m going to tell you the truth about stay-at-home dads…” she wrote.

Not surprisingly, most of the discussion quickly descended into non-communication, with some claiming that any man commenter who disagreed was somehow invalid, if not sexist, because, well, they were men. Never mind that not all of them were men.

Ho hum. What most missed was that if there is a "truth" about stay-at-home dads … it is that there is no truth about stay-at-home dads. Just as there is no truth about stay-at-home moms. Just as there is no truth that accurately defines a good marriage, spouse, or parent. Just as there is no truth to any discussion that revolves around a label.

We saw the same descent into non-communication after Valeria Maltoni published her Top 20 PR PowerWomen list, which prompted Lewis Green to write his much discussed post, which questioned the validity of an all-woman list (he has since yielded and agreed to support it).

Before I continue, I might point out that I already commented at the The Buzz Bin and agreed with Geoff Livingston’s decision to support the Top 20 PR PowerWomen. However, I also understand what Green was asking, but think that he asked the wrong question.

In sum, it seems to me that Green asked whether any list segregated by gender, race, or ethnicity was valid. In other words, he may as well have asked if we group our gumballs by size or color, does that place the other gumballs at a disadvantage. Um no, they still taste the same.

But let's say he asked a slightly different question. Does the promotion of a label — status, position, gender, whatever — further erode the ability of people to interact as individuals without regard to labels (such as gender) or does it simply draw more attention to their differences as identified by such a label and breed resentment?

Well now, that depends solely on the gumballs who make up the group. In this case, there is no evidence that the Top 20 PR PowerWomen are promoting that pink gumballs somehow taste better than blue gumballs simply because they are pink, which basically means that the list is no more exclusionary than a Top 20 PR PowerPeople in the Washington D.C. Area list or a Top 20 Bloggers Who Own Red Socks list.

However, Green's question also illustrates why labels are tricky things. On one hand, humans have great cognitive capabilities, which includes processing large amounts of information by categorizing it by labels. On the other hand, if we are not aware of this process, we can become enslaved by it — either by subconsciously taking on stereotyped behaviors that are identified with a specific label or assuming other people will likely act like the labels that they are assigned.

The simplest truth is there are no typical women and there are no typical men. And if you approach either with the preconceived notion that they will react or respond to you as their label suggests they might, you will likely be disappointed. Worse, you could greatly increase the likelihood of label-centric non-communication.

In a different context, freeing us from the trappings of gender: there are no typical mothers to be found at Ronald McDonald House. And there are no typical billionaires. They are all people and each of them deserve to be treated with respect as individuals. Treat them any differently and you may as well argue that one gumball is better than another gumball, when we all know that they taste the same.

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