Random Thoughts 07/30/2008

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Idaho Republicans disregard social media at their own peril

I would like to reiterate my party agnostic stance (I know they exists I just don’t believe in either of them). I only share this as a great social media example in action.

I made a prediction a year and a half ago that Idaho Republicans would loose a record number of races to the Democrats now that John Foster was heading up the Idaho Democratic party.

Well one major thing has changed, John is not heading the Idaho Democratic party anymore he has taken a seat on Walt Minnick’s campaign against incumbent Bill Sali. You’ll notice that YouTube, flickr and Facebook are prominantly displayed on both sites but Walt chooses to display LinkedIn while Sali opts for MySpace. And yes Walt has a blog.

The Idaho Statesman’s Kevin Richert gives a great breakdown of how Foster is wisely using the blogosphere to Walt’s advantage.

What is interesting is the way the campaign’s soft release of the ads, which begin airing today (Tuesday 7/29). John Foster, spokesman for the Democratic candidate, e-mailed links to the ads Monday (7/28) to more than a dozen media bloggers and Democratic activist bloggers.

It’s one small example of the way Democratic candidates are openly courting coverage from Idaho bloggers.

While Democratic campaigns are viewing the blogosphere as a way to get the word out, some Republicans view the blogosphere with open disdain.

But Republicans dismiss this medium at their peril.

When I made my prediction many of my local Republican/Libertarian new media colleagues scoffed at my prediction:

As far as Republicans not being willing to step into New Media in the state - I think you will be mistaken on that as well. They aren’t so arrogant that they will sit on their rear-ends.

I wonder if they still feel that way? I know for a fact that many of my friends have volunteered to help the GOP out and gotten no where.

Barack Obama has become the poster child for politics and social media, but for those of us in Idaho, here is a great example. Do you see this across the country? Are there social media savvy Republicans out there? Will social media prove to be the political turning point?

I still stand by John Foster’s ability to win elections with the help of social media. It’s just now Walt Minnick will get that benefit, not the rest of the democratic party.

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How has Twitter stayed #1 despite themselves?

And why it will stay there.

The simple answer is, network effect. Yes, I am stating the overly obvious answer that Twitter is surviving because of it’s network. But not just any network, the fact that Twitter, like the rest of the Web is a scale-free network, is saving it.

For background on this episode of drama, Marco and Louis have some excelent posts about the most recent Twitter drama.

In the book Linked: the New Science of Networks by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi he points out that scale-free networks can survive a full scale assault because the connections are shared across so many hubs.

Where scale-free networks fall apart is when a handful of key hubs fail.

When the entire west coast went dark back in 1996, it was because a few key hubs went out and the other hubs were not able to support it.

No matter how hard Twitter tries they have been unable to unseat Scoble, Arrington, Calacanis, Owyang and others. If the hubs (these and others) would really leave and not just talk about it, their networks would leave with them.

Basically no matter how many of us *average* people leave, Twitter will stay #1.

FriendFeed saved Twitter

Despite all the talk about FriendFeed killing Twitter it actually saved it.

Because FriendFeed is not actually a replacement for Twitter but instead supplements it, when Twitter has issues the hubs go over to FriendFeed (everyone else actually gets some work done) and when Twitter’s up everyone finds their way back.

If FriendFeed hadn’t come along when it had and a handful of the Silicon Valley A listers had really left for Pownce or Plurk, Twitter would have been the next Friendster.

Why Twitters Problems are probably helping it?

I think one of the reasons Twitter is still doing as well as it is is because of it’s problems. It gives everyone something to post about. It keeps things interesting. It’s like the crazy girlfriend. You like being with her because she’s hot but you really love telling your friends the crazy stories.

Marco has an updated post about this last topic.

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bit.ly takes you along the river of content

I think it’s well established that I geek out about weird things when it comes to content/communication on the Web. So I hope you’ll bear with me while I yet again show my geeky side.

For those of you not familiar with URL shorteners; A URL shortener is a servive that takes really long URL’s and turns them into much shorter URL’s, making it easier to share a URL without it getting broken.

TinyURL is the first URL shortener I was familiar with. With the rise of microblogging services like Twitter, which limits your posts to 140 characters, URL shorteners have seen a tremendous up take in use.

bit.ly is the most recent URL shortener to hit the market and has packed some tremendous innovation into its service. For a full report check out Read/Write Web’s glowing review.

Example: When I want to share a blog post from my HP blog, which, like many corporate websites has insanely long URL’s, I can either try and send this URL

Or I can use bit.ly and share this URL http://bit.ly/2I0DwA.

bit.ly shows long tail of content

Among the many cool features with bit.ly is the ability fo you to see how many people are clicking the link and where they are comming from. bit.ly is also supposed to generate a thumbnail of the site but that doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.

As you can see from this photo, most people clicked on the link in Twitter, which is where I shared the link. The link was also accessed via Twiiter app betwittered and URL tracking site twitturly. The link then flowed on to my FriendFeed page where another peson accessed it and then went onto Facebook via the FriendFeed app I have on my Facebook profile where yet another person accessed it. There are also about 16 people that clicked the link that bit.ly couldn’t track.

To me this is fascinating (like I said, I’m a geek about this stuff). bit.ly is a free service and only stores the last 15 links you shortened. I would gladly pay for a premium service that stored more URL’s and gave me a time line for when people clicked.

I can’t wait to see what other features bit.ly comes out with.

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Random Thoughts 07/23/2008

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Random Thoughts 07/19/2008

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Continuing the conversation over at HP

In my last post I mentioned that there were several reasons I was going to be posting to this blog a little less. Here’s one big reason:

Back in February I launched the Marketing Impressions blog at HP. The blog started off being focused on tips and tricks to help the average Small and Medium Business (SMB) market themselves. The blog was off to a decent start and then a series of events have left the blog dormant.

First we migrated to a new platform, which halted any posting during the down time. The migration was much needed though. We were using a 3 year old, unsupported .NET platform. The new Community Server platform is much more friendly for the bloggers and the readers.

Then there were some re-orgs at work that ended with me moving from LaserJet, where I was largely focused on our SMB initiatives, to our Global Enterprise Business, now called Worldwide Sales & Services (WWSS), where we are focused on enterprise accounts.

So after approx two months of silence I have relaunched the Marketing Impressions blog with a focus on covering various marketing and social media activities going on at HP. This was a topic I covered to some extent here but for some reason it never felt natural to devote too much time to that here. I summed up my thoughts this way:

This isn’t something I’m doing as part of my roles at HP, it’s something that I feel passionate about. It’s something people have asked me to do on my personal blog but I didn’t always feel comfortable doing. Not because of anything I might say but because I kind of felt I was robbing HP of an opportunity to engage with their customers about their brand on their home turf. That may sound weird but it’s the best way I could articulate it.

So, while I may be posting less here, I won’t really be posting less. I hope you’ll grab the RSS feed and not be shy about commenting over there as well.

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Thoughts, Words, Actions.


I haven’t been as active on this blog lately for a lot of reasons and it may get even quieter for a while.

I’ve been blogging a lot on my locally focused tech blog, TechBoise.
I’ve still been relatively active on Twitter, FriendFeed and BrightKite.

But mostly I’ve been thinking.

There’s a lot of noise out there and it’s growing exponentially. (BTW, I believe that’s a good thing.)

Unfortunately most of the noise in my world (Marketing/Web 2.0) sounds the same. It’s just repackaged versions of the same ideas from 4 years ago.

I turn 36 this month and while it’s not a huge milestone it has me thinking.

I made a choice 4 years ago to pursue new media wholeheartedly and I have never regretted that decision. It was the best professional decision I’ve ever made. I only wonder where this road will lead me next?

I think the time for talk is over. I’m tired of talk. I find myself getting bored (not overwhelmed) with all the noise.

The shift has happened and while everyone else is sitting around
wondering what that shift is or what it means, the competitive
advantages are already being taken advantage of.

If you’re still sitting around talking about it someone’s eating your lunch and you don’t even know it.

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What Twitter as email would look like.

If I could re-make Outlook

If only I could recreate corporate email. <sigh>

What you’re are seeing here is TweetDeck overlaying my Outlook. I only use Outlook at work because I have to. I love the simple fact that TweetDeck let’s me divide Twitter into groups. I’ve organized this by my local friends and everyone else. TweetDeck automatically separates replies and direct messages.

If you could send files through Twitter much like you can through Pownce and have group chat functionality, I fail to see any reason why a Twitter *like* client wouldn’t work for corporate email.

This of course doesn’t handle calendering or contacts but it’s not hard to see how Web 2.0 could replace our current corporate communications tools.

And I won’t go into it here but my mind is spinning with additional benefits around knowledge sharing and cross silo collaboration.

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Random Thoughts 07/09/2008

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