Top 10 Blog Posts [May 2009] FriendFeed Steals the Show

Peter Kim has been doing a monthly top post recap for a while now. I like this approach and decided to steal this idea and remix it a little. He does it for convenience if anyone missed any of his posts. I like it for different reasons. It’s a simple way to show you what content resonated the most with readers.

For comparison I’ve also included the dates well as the PostRank score for each post. You can see this blogs full PostRank profile here (my profile is here). The raw numerical ranking is based off Google Analytics traffic numbers. The PostRank score is based off views and the number of times it was shared on Twitter and FriendFeed.

  1. FriendFeed is Reaching Critical Mass PR 10 - 5/20/09
  2. Enterprise 2.0 Needs a FriendFeed PR 10 - 5/19/09
  3. Why URL Shorteners Are Important PR 10 - 5/21/09
  4. What I learned from HP about co-opetition PR 7.4 - 4/30/09
  5. Ads in FriendFeed-This Could be Huge PR 10 - 5/19/09
  6. Leaving HP. Back to Agency Life PR 10 - 4/20/09
  7. How I moved up 300 spots in AdAge’s Power 150 in 4 months PR 5.5 - 5/05/09
  8. Social Media will soon face the realities of multiculturalism PR 5.8 - 5/04/09
  9. Despite the Promise of Social Networks Local Businesses Struggle with Marketing ROI PR 10 - 5/19/09
  10. Will RSS Ever Go Mainstream? 5.6 - 5/04/09

What resonated the most with you this month? FriendFeed was the big winner. (Kind of validates the claim I made in that most popular post doesn’t it?) After that the post I made when I left HP as well as my final HP posts had the most longevity.

It is interesting to note that nothing posted in the last 10 days shows
up on the list which makes sense given they wouldn’t have had as much
time as the others. It’s also interesting to note that some of the most visited blogs were not always the most shareable. Interesting.

Hope you found this useful. I’ll do my best to make this a monthly habit.

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Sometimes less is more. Sometimes less is just less.

The HUMAN Resource album cover
Image via Wikipedia

There’s an article in BusinessWeek that talks about the growing trend that some companies have been taking (my former employer included). Instead of cutting staff they are cutting salaries, and bonuses and benefits.I always feel a little callus when I talk about job loss because I don’t come across as very sympathetic. If I do, I don’t mean to. I just think layoffs are the result of bad decision making on the part of the employer and/or the employee.

Cutting Salaries Instead of Jobs - BusinessWeek

Traditionally, criticism of pay cuts has focused on the impact they have on morale and productivity.

Rationally this makes sense. And having gone through it I can tell you that employees will *say* they agree with the approach. Better cut our pay than see our fellow workers (or ourselves) loose their jobs. And for the most part they mean it.

The problem I have with this is that usually they are just avoiding the inevitable. While I was at HP I went through multiple rounds of layoffs and ultimately saw our salaries cut. When companies cut salaries they are told that management thinks the worst is behind them. That they think they won’t have to cut again. If they didn’t they would be cutting jobs not salaries, because you can’t go back to that well again.

Last week I heard HP was cutting more jobs, as are many other companies. This has to be demoralizing to the employees that are left. They layoffs are slowing and the amount of jobs that are being cut are less but the approach is wrong, in my opinion.

The BusinessWeek article quotes several HR experts who call this managerial cowardice because they should just cut jobs. Employees will remember these cuts. Top performers know they can always find a job. I was never afraid for my job at HP. I knew they wouldn’t cut me. I was fortunate enough to have a rare skill set and set of experiences. Even if they did cut me I knew I’d not have any difficulty finding a job or starting a company.

I also disagree with the BusinessWeek article. At this point companies should not be cutting jobs or salaries. Large companies need to be cutting business groups. The first couple rounds of layoffs at companies got rid of under-performers. As I’ve said before these employees were not bad, probably just complacent or in the wrong position. At this point companies need to salvage the top 10% that’s left. Move them into critical businesses and cut under-preforming businesses.

The media world could especially learn from this.

The problem is that cutting businesses is even harder than cutting people. That business might be bringing in money. Or companies have invested a lot of money into that business.

These may be true but what if you focused on your core businesses cut everything else and then gave your remaining employees raises? How hard would those employees work? How likely would you be to succeed and gain market share in that business?

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Google and Microsoft Role Reversal

What a day for tech news yesterday. If you didn’t hear all about Microsoft announcing their new search decision engine, Bing and Google trying to steal their thunder by announcing Wave, welcome back from your coma.

I think both products look amazing and think that both could be game changers but does anyone think its interesting that people are excited about Microsoft search and Google’s office productivity tools? What planet did I just wake up on?

Granted neither of them have made money on their new efforts but both of them are obviously willing to spend a lot of money to steal market share from the others core business.

Whatever the outcome, things just got even more interesting. Imagine 10 years from now if Bing becomes a huge success and is the dominant search engine and Wave does the same. hmmm……

(Disclosure: Microsoft is a client and our team has been working on the launch of Bing but other than knowing some stuff before you guys I don’t know any more than you do now, since most of the work was done before I came on board.)

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Life on the Dark Side. Agency Update: They Have Cookies

It’s been something like 23 days (or there about) since I started my new gig as Digital Consulting Director at WE Studio D and I thought I would give you a quick update.For those that may not know Studio D is the independent, content, digital, consulting group within Waggener Edstrom, the 2nd largest independent PR agency globally.


Having always been one to jump in head first I was quickly thrown into existing client work and new business proposals. I love having the diversity of client work again. And what an amazing list of clients (this doesn’t even include some of the recent additions). We work mostly with tech clients (which suits me just fine). I’m like a kid in a candy store when I get to help them imagine all the possible ways of applying social to their communication challenges. And they keep me busy. Once we come up with all these crazy great, strategic ideas, they’ve been very eager to get a plan in place and get moving. Good thing I love being busy, especially when it’s stuff I love.

On the client side there is so much you have to do, like getting internal buy in and general management stuff, before you get to the good stuff. I do miss the intimacy you have with a project. Being on the inside and *owning* the project (especially when things are going great) is a really good feeling. But so is helping your clients look like rock stars.

The first thing I realized is that every company is basically at the same point. The bigger companies have early adopters driving change as well as laggards who are still trying to figure the basics out.To the corporate marketers reading this: those questions you and your company are asking, they are the same ones everyone else is asking. Promise.

It’s amazing to me the demand there is right now for social media. This goes way beyond a fad or trend. Every company we meet with knows this is important. They may be wondering to what degree they should invest in or they may be jaded by to much Twitter talk, but they all know that things have changed and they aren’t going back.

About the blog title? They do have cookies. My admin keeps our office well stocked with junk food and honestly if it wasn’t for her I’d be a complete mess (thanks Alyse, YOU rock \,,/).

Everyone in Studio D has been amazing to work with. A seriously talented, enthusiastic group to work with. Actually everyone that I’ve met at Waggener Edstrom has been great.

Maybe it’s because we’re still in the honeymoon phase but I don’t have any complaints. I have more thought and learnings to share but I’ll save those for other posts.

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Do You Have to DO Social Media to Work IN Social Media?

There are obvious advantages to being involved in Social Media if you want to work in Social Media. But is it necessary?

Read/Write Web posted about the new NYT Social Media editor:
NYTimes Appoints First Social Media Editor

Little is known about Preston’s personal use of social media, she’s
either using aliases or is remarkably quiet around the web, and details
are still forthcoming about the new position she’ll fill. The Times has
done a remarkable job of engaging with social media so far, though, and
we have high hopes for this new post.

I’m no journalist and have very little understanding of what an “Editor” does. It usually comes with some sort of management level experience and (I think) is more about overseeing the writers and their content.

Arguably Jennifer Preston could do this without having to be very active in this space. In fact I think most of us would benefit from a *little* editorial oversight of our online activities.

This is especially true inside companies. Usually the person I want to connect with customers isn’t very active (if at all) in social media.

Yet some purists believe that in order to run social media initiatives you have to be a Social Media expert? If that’s true then wouldn’t the reverse be true? In order to run social media for a company you need to be an expert on the business?

My manager at HP had a LinkedIn profile and that’s it. He knew very little about social media (he knew enough to hire me though). On the other hand I knew almost nothing about printers (and stil don’t). But he was very knowledgable about our business and I was knowledgable enough about social media that between the two of us we were able to align business objectives with social media.

And let’s be honest here, just because someone is a power user of social media doesn’t by ay stretch mean they are going to be able to plan, launch or run a social media campaign.

Personaly I think the *business* of social media will benefit hugely if more non Kool-Aid drinkers got involved in the business side. And conversly I think business as a whole if more social media types got involved in the business side of companies.

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If Chris Anderson Can’t Reinvent the Publishing World, Who Can?

Wired cover July 2001
Image by Tac Anderson via Flickr

If Chris Anderson Can’t Reinvent the Publishing World, Who Can?

This post originally ran on the Studio D blog last week.

Wired Struggles to Find Niche in Magazine World -

Even as Chris Anderson makes a boatload of money of his ideas, subsequent books and high dollar speaking engagement, Wired (his editorial charge), is one of the biggest losers in the ad game.

I think Chris’s ideas are spot on. He’s a brilliant guy with some serious thought leadership. Wired is a great publication, both the Online and the print versions but can he translate great content and thought leadership into a real business for Wired? If Chris can’t then who can?

This really only leads me to two rationale explanations:

  1. Chris is to caught up in his own celebrity.
  2. Chris is hamstrung by parent company Conde Nast to implement any of that great thinking.

The third possibility is that we have yet to see Chris’ master plan in action. I’m hoping for number three. Wired and the whole publishing world (Online and print) need some innovation.

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Screw the Press Release. Blog It!

I Love This! Validation is such an empowering thing. Having been arguing the power of blogs and social media for the last ~5 years I have loved watching things evolve.

  • At first no one thought blogs would be taken seriously by businesses.
  • Then no one thought they’d be used for anything other than marketing.
  • Then journalists said they’d never replace.
  • Then people said regulated industries (legal medical etc) would never be able to fully embrace blogs.

Are these people tired of being wrong yet?  Because I’m not tired of being right.

Today I was reading on The Next Web about Microsoft’s (disclosure: Microsoft is a client) latest legal happenings with the EU, when I reads this:
Microsoft withdraws from EU antitrust hearing. Claims it’s just not fair. - The Next Web

In a blog post on the company blog titled “Why hold a hearing in the EU if key decision makers are unable to attend?”, Microsoft explained its actions…

Did you catch that? Let me show it again: In a blog post. In a blog post!!!! Not “In a press release.” Love it.

In a blog post, on their Microsoft On The Issues blog, they talked about an ongoing legal case AND the post is open to comments. To Microsoft’s credit they have always been leaders in the blog space.  There are still very few companies that would be willing to do this, for now. But like all the barriers we’ve seen, that too will change.

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How to Win the Real-Time Web Publishing Battle
Image by via Flickr

As the Web moves into hyper-drive the ability for organizations to turn out high quality content has never been more important. From my own experience as well as what I’ve seen others publish the life span of link shared on Twitter is 5 minutes. After that it’s old news waiting to be discovered by search engines.

While Twitter is not your only distribution vehicle this example is indicative of all Web streams (which, eventually, the Web will simply be a network of streams).

The notable exception to this rule is the RT. Links that get re-tweeted have another 5 minutes of life. The more RT’s the more 5 minute life spans. This is also true of other LifeStreams like FriendFeed and Facebook, except instead of a RT you’re hoping for a like or a comment. This resurfaces the content and shares it out that persons network.

This does not mean that companies and other content producers need to turn on the firehose. (I know this is a futile plea but I’ll make it anyway) Please do not focus on quantity. Focus on quality.

The number one way; the best, most cost/time efficient way to win the real-time publishing battle is to create high quality highly shareable content. Create compelling content and then make it easy for others to repurpose it. You can attempt to higher an army of content producers or you can enable the existing army* or content producers out there to re-create your content.

*Your existing army is much larger than you are thinking about right now. Most companies think about their customers advocates and their employees but the must underutilized node in every companies social media strategy is the partner node. More on that later.

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Why URL Shorteners Are Important FAIL blowfish
Image by bpedro via Flickr

There’s probably hundreds of URL shorteners now. Seriously, I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. They’re really easy to build (there’s even a WordPress plugin that makes them out of your blog URL) and they are proving invaluable to content publishers. (NYT article on shorter URLs)

Tinyurl was the first shortener. It predates Twitter and was primarily used by IT guys who had to email those hideously long URL’s you get from large enterprise sites. Then with Twitter and other microblogging services the need to save those precious characters drove the advent of really short shorteners. But quickly changed all of that. Now URL shorteners offer the ability to get real time stats on the nemer of clicks, the number of times a link get’s re-shared and even the conversations that are happening around your link. is still my favorite service. Here’s a bonus tip, you can hack any link someone else share’s to see the tracking metrics of that link. Take any link like this one and add info/ in the middle like so (Note: has been upgrading their service so this may not work perfectly but you should be able to get the idea.)

Many people out there hate URL shorteners. Spammers use them to hide malicious or affiliate links. Another legitimate concern is what happens *when* some of these services start going under? The Web will be littered with hundreds, thousands or even millions of dead links.

I love URL shorteners and think they are going to be indispensable to content producers and marketers. URL shorteners enable you to track your content (via the link) wherever the Web stream takes it. You can track engagement, pass-along and .

I also think that since you know where your content ends up, URL shorteners will help solve the comment tracking/re-aggregation that plagues all of us bloggers. (That’s going to be a very messy problem however).

What do you think, do URL shorteners make the Web better or worse?

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FriendFeed is Reaching Critical Mass

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

Three months ago, while some were proclaiming that the Twitter shark had been jumped, I made the statement that Microblogging was about to go Supernova. Three months ago doesn’t seem like that long ago but in the real-time Web that was eons ago.

Real-time content is all the rage right now and you are going to get as sick of hearing about it as you were of Twitter 3 months ago (and probably still are).

You are also going to start hearing a lot more about FriendFeed. Most of you are familiar with it and more and more of you are joining (I can tell by the steady rise of follow notifications over the last couple months). It’s not just the number of people that are joining but the types of people that are joining. The other significant thing that is happening is people who are already on the service (like those that signed up but didn’t do much) are starting to make stronger connections across the service.

Even as more people join and connet most of you still don’t know what to do with it. Because a lot of you are asking, here’s how I use FriendFeed:

  1. It’s a personal search engine: I hook up all my social services to it and dump everything in it. Then the next time I’m looking for that link I shared, or bookmarked or tweeted or something I go to FriendFeed and search for it.
  2. It’s a work flow tool. Since I’m sharing everything into FriendFeed already I use it to push some things to Twitter for me. (More on this in later posts.)
  3. It’s a social network/stalking tool. While most people follow each other’s activity on Twitter if you follow a lot of people it becomes cumbersome to find out what they were doing while you were away from Twitter (if you’re ever away). By adding all the people you want to keep tabs on into one room on FriendFeed you can occasioanly check their status their. You can even add people who aren’t on FriendFeed by pulling their Twitter RSS stream into that room.

There a a lot of FriendFeed tutorials written by people on how to get the most out of the service but instead of linking to them I want you to go to FriendFeed and search for them. The best part is that you don’t even have to sign up to search the wealth of content their.

Why is FriendFeed going top rise to the top now? Because it has the best functionality of any service out there. It not only aggregates all of your content it makes it searchable and manageable. FriendFeed will prove to be a powerful tool for managing the growing onslaught of content not just add to it like most services.

Update: I made some changes in the second and third paragraphs to argue my point a little stronger about why I see FriendFeed as reaching critical mass. No hard data, just my observations.

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