I dislike Apple but I’m really glad they’re around

Apple I at the Smithsonian Museum

Image via Wikipedia

As much as I like to bag on Apple for their closed proprietary nature I am thankful that they exist. If it wasn’t for Apple our computers would be ugly and difficult to use. I insist on having all PC operating systems and use them all. I’ve had several iPod for years I finally broke down and got an iPhone (I now have 2 phones with me).  It’s cool but I could easily live with something else (partly because they’ve made everyone get better).

TechDirt as always has a very thoughtful and well put piece on the swelling Apple backlash:

Recently, we’ve decried Apple’s autocratic governance of their App Store. But don’t let that mislead you into thinking we’re down on the whole product. The iPhone is a turning-point device, which changed the usability level of the mobile Internet. All of a sudden, the mass market - who until then had no interest in muddling with clumsy mobile data services - was able to connect to the web on their phone, browse sites, download apps, and truly realize the promise of “anytime, anyplace, any info”. The phone also revolutionized the mobile phone UI. While the other handset vendors developed each application and hardware in its own silo, Apple designed it all as a single whole experience, also sketching-in the content and application ecosystem. And it’s been no shock that good user experience matters a whole lot! Lastly, the iPhone shattered the iron grip carriers had on handset vendors, and the phones their customer’s eventually owned. Apple yanked some of that control away, and their more open (than carriers) approach has blown open the barn doors of developer creativity. The iPhone sales figures and data usage stats are in. Its a success. So if you are one of the people that says the iPhone is nothing more than a shiny toy, you need to come back to reality. http://techdirt.com/articles/20090728/1142255686.shtml

Apple is a great innovative company. I may think Steve Jobs is a megalomaniac, but he is a genius.

I like choices, I like freedom of content and I like transparency. Sometimes Apple makes those better, unfortunately they just as often make those worse.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, I’m glad they exist.

(Please see my disclosure as I work for a company that represents several iPhone competitors)

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Who I Think Should Buy FriendFeed and Bit.ly

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: In this photo illu...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

If I were Acxiom I’d be going on a social media buying spree. Companies like Bit.ly or FriendFeed. Match what they know with real time behavior data. The great thing about URL shorteners like Bit.ly is they permeate the walled gardens like Facebook and the great thing about FriendFeed is it aggregates all that great data.

For decades, data companies like Experian and Acxiom have compiled reams of information on every American: Acxiom estimates it has 1,500 pieces of data on every American, based on information from warranty cards, bridal and birth registries, magazine subscriptions, public records and even dog registrations with the American Kennel Club.

I’ve been doing some thinking on this recently; it’s one thing to collect data on people without them realizing it (most people don’t understand what browser cookies are or exactly what they do) it’s quite another to be able to collect data that users are actively sharing, in realtime.

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Be a Social Media Black Belt with Posterous

Disarming an attacker using a "sword taki...

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When asked what the next “hot” thing is in social media I say work flow. I know it sounds boring but tools that streamline the process of social media management and allow us to scale all this playing around on the Web we call social media *work* is so hot right now. That’s the main reason I geek out on Posterous.

@foleymo wanted to know if Posterous was paying me. No they are not. They are just have a really cool product that I find very useful and have been using for the last 6 months, ever since Zemanta (another favorite blogging tool of mine) started working with Gmail. (That and I like tools I get in early on to succeed because it makes me look really smart)

Yesterday I posted a quick Q&A about using Posterous as an internal collaboration tool. Today’s post is about using Posteruos as a corporate social media marketers secret weapon (say that 5 times really fast).

If you’re on top of things managing your social media you have a Twitter, Flickr and YouTube account plus a blog. If not go do that right now. Even for the most conservative companies out there, it’s pretty standard now to have Twitter, Flickr and YouTube set up. If you don’t and you think your company/client won’t go for it, try asking, you might be surprised.

If nothing else YOU should have a Twitter, Flickr and YouTube account. If not, I don’t know why you’re reading this.

Now to earning that Black Belt: (For the benefit of those with uber anal legal departments we’ll leave out blogs).

Assuming you now have all 4 of these accounts set up (Posterous, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter) go into your ‘Autopost to Everywhere’ setting in Posterous and enable posting to these other accounts. You can also set to post to Vimeo, Facebook, Delicious, your blog and many other services, but we’ll focus on the big three because they’re the ones I use the most.

Now take a picture or a video on your phone and send to [email protected]. If you sent a picture, you just posted to Posterous, Flickr and Twitter. If it was a video you just posted to Posterous, YouTube and Twitter. Score!

For PR/Marketing this is the killer event workflow!

Imagine being at corporate events (any event really) and with one handy smart phone you’re transformed into a live streaming Social Media Black Belt Ninja person.

Plus, bonus points, because during or after the event people only have to go to Posterous to see everything.

Double bonus points: If your company/client wouldn’t let you have a blog before, now you kind of have one, but instead of a blog I’d call it a “social media work flow and aggregation tool”.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The subject line of your email becomes the title of the post, the title of your picture or video and the content of the tweet.
  • You can also record short interviews or commentary as a voice note and send those. They’ll automagically be embedded in the post.
  • Posterous has the ability to only post to specific sites depending on the email address you send to. [email protected] will post to Flickr and Posterous but not Twitter.
  • Spend some time getting familiar with Posterous before using in the wild.

This was cross posted on the Studio D Thinkers and Doers blog

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How to use Posterous for Internal Collaboration

Image representing Posterous as depicted in Cr...
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Working in a cross functional team I meet with a lot of teams to share advice, tips and tricks. I then frequently get follow up questions (because I openly invite them). Last night I received one and wanted to share an edited and more detailed version of the email exchange Q&A with you because I think it would be helpful.

Not too long ago I would have recommended setting up a Ning site or a Google Group or even a private Blogger account but Posterous is just so much more simple to use, especially for people who live in their Outlook inbox. Now we just need an enterprise version of Posterous.

Q - I’m looking for ways to connect micro groups within the agency on social networking platforms such as former interns who’ve grown through the agency, remote employees, etc. It is for conversations that need to remain limited just to a particular group (like an alias if your thinking email terms) and not exposed publicly for all to see. What do you recommend? I worry somewhat about folks having to go to another app outside of Outlook for discussions such as this, but there’s a need to tap into some digital exploration here.

A - As long as you’re not talking about confidential information you can have your cake and eat it too. :)

Posterous lets you have blog type functionality with the ease of email. If you have not tried Posterous yet send an email RIGHT NOW to [email protected]. I’ll wait.

Now that you’re set up in Posterous, log in w/ the info they send you and you can set up groups, you can also set it up privately. You can post comments by replying to posts (which show up as emails) and you can share attachments like video, picture, audio and documents which Posterous will embed in the post. You can also set up multiple Posterous accounts. My account is www.tacanderson.com plus I have 2 others.

If that doesn’t work for what you need let me know. FriendFeed also has some similar features but its geekier and not as easy to use for the average person.

Q - This is perfect! So one question is – sometimes we share best practices, which is a little bit exposing and we may not want all account teams to see. Could someone view in?

A - As long as you set it to private no one that is not invited can see it or post to it. If they are invited they have access to see, post and comment.

***But remember just like Yammer or any other social network this is not “secure” so you can’t share confidential or restricted info.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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What does Zemanta have to do with Freebase and Balloons?

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Besides the fact that Freebasing and Balloons both have drug connotations Zemanta is partnering with social database company Freebase to launch a new addicting blog feature called Balloons.

You know those annoying little mouse over preview scripts that pop-up on blog and let you look at the page before you click through but don’t really tell you much? This is nothing like that. Balloons are useful pop-ups that actually let you watch video, see a map or read a wikipedia entry without having to leave the page. It’s very cool and I’m really excited for this feature to get pushed out. It was released today but like many FireFox plugins we’ll probably have to wait a day or two before see it.  Check out the page for a demo http://www.zemanta.com/balloons/

Here’e what Zemanta had to say in their announcement:

Zemanta launches Balloons, open multimedia overlays for bloggers

Balloons, launched today by Zemanta in co-operation with Freebase, are dynamic overlays that allow any blogger or online publisher to integrate multimedia content - including YouTube, Google Maps – and Freebase infoboxes - into their pages.

Balloons give bloggers and publishers access to the openly licensed Freebase database and content from YouTube, Google Maps and MusicBrainz, as well as millions of articles from Freebase contributors.

Whenever Balloons are added to a blog post or article, small, unobtrusive icons appear next to the key links in the page.  By clicking on these icons, readers can preview content without leaving the page and discover additional links to related items.  This allows web publishers to integrate all kinds of rich content into their posts without requiring users to leave their site.

Update: The guys at Zemanta alerted me to the fact that this is available already, you just need to go into your settings and enable it. Let me know what you think.

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Social Media is a Wicked Problem

I know this is a ‘no duh’ for most people but I had an epiphany about the way I think about content “consumption”.

We don’t consume content. In fact every interaction with every piece of online content only serves to create more content.

Every click, every rating, share, new link, comment, new blog post, etc, just creates more content. More 0’s & 1’s on a database more records.

This is why data is expanding exponentially. And as the data expands exponentially that creates more interactions resulting in more content resulting in more……you get the idea.

There’s actually a scientific term for this and it’s called a Wicked problem. Search is a Wicked problem. Social media is a Wicked(er) problem.

I imagine that social media measurement and search provide a level of complexity that made search in the late 90’s look like child’s play.

Photo cred to me

This blog was originally posted at New Comm Biz

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How a DM via Twitter to a Blog with a Link to Facebook Got Me My Job

I’ve told a few people how I got my position here at Waggener Edstrom but I haven’t *blogged* it yet. But it’s a highly relevant story and fits into the broader themes I cover here of how social media is changing the way we work.

Amybeth Hale (@researchgoddess) is a recruiter who uses social media extensively. She recently did a great round up of 8 different stories where people found jobs via Twitter. Here’s her story about mine.

YES - Twitter Works For Recruiting! (I have proof) : Cruiter Talk

Tac Anderson – Social Media Director at Waggener Edstrom: Tac’s story is a personal one for me, because it was my direct message to him that alerted him to the position he now has. I had been following Tac’s blog, New Comm Biz, for a little over a year, and we had connected through Twitter and shared a few links and other niceties over time. When the position at Waggener became available, Tac was one of the first folks I reached out to for it. I sent him a direct message and asked if he might be interested.

What’s of particular interest is not just that Twitter was involved. But that Amybeth sent me a direct message through Twitter with a link to a blog post she wrote on her own blog that linked to the job description which was posted on Facebook. (Waggener Edstroms career page on Facebook)

It wasn’t until after I had sent my resume to Waggener Edstrom and had a preliminary phone call with HR (I assume to make sure I was legit) did I actually go to Waggener Edstrom’s Web site.

Part of this was because I wasn’t out of work and looking for a job, I was relatively happy at HP but was looking for opportuinities to grow in the right environment. Part of that was because I didn’t need to.

Jeremy Meyers (@JeremyMeyers) recently posted about the extensive due dilligence he did on WaggEd and Studio D before accepting his recent position with us:

Waggener has several blogs, one of the most popular being Thinkers And Doers, a home for insight from the Studio D team. Their posts reflected a curiosity and viewpoint that I could easily align myself with, so I began commenting, when I had something to say about the topic.

At the same time, I searched for and followed as many Waggener people as I could on Twitter, using the bios page on waggeneredstrom.com as a starting point, and expanding the list using @ dacort’s tweepsearch.com. I set up a separate TweetDeck group specifically for all the WaggEd folk, and started listening to what they were saying, selectively responding, and getting to know some of the people inside the company and what they’re all about.

This is smart. Where are you going to find out more about a company: From the company website or from the people who work there and their online activity?

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Confessions of a Social Media Addict

Hi, my name’s Tac and I’m a social media addict.

My Work Space

My Work Space

I actually come from a long line a family with addictions. I’ve just found a much more socially acceptable addictions and turned it into a profession.

How do I know I’m an addict?

I am always online. Always.

I wake up at 3:00 am to check both work and personal email, Twitter and FriendFeed.

I often respond coherently and occasionally don’t remember exactly what I said when I wake up.

I dream in status updates.

I have 2 phones, 3 computers, a Flip camera an iPod and I use them all frequently.

RT @tacanderson: I am always online. Always.

Anything that happens to me I think of how I can blog or tweet it.

If I create content of any kind I wonder how I can repurpose it for a blog.

I can tell you how to publish across a dozen different sites simultaneously but I’m 2 weeks behind on submitting my hours at work. [Update I am now caught up on my timesheets]

The real problem is that it’s because of this addiction that I have the job that I do. This constant obsession feeds the knowledge that I have. It’s that knowledge that leads to a certain degree of expertise. That is what I get paid for.

RT @tacanderson: I dream in status updates.

Part of me wonders if this is really a problem. As long as I stay a high functioning addict is that ok?

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. But what if you don’t want to recover?

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Some Thoughts on Disclosures [and Some Disclosures]

Disclosures can be tough when you’re at an agency. Especially if you don’t blog about your work that much but you blog about industries your clients have a stake in.

I blog about marketing, technology, journalism, mobile, business models, startups, and any related trends or anything I find mildly interesting. I blog about those things on New Comm Biz and my Tac Anderson lifestream and share links on Twitter and bookmark, highlight and annotate thing on Diigo and all those aggregate to my FriendFeed.

How do you disclose any potential conflict across all those channels? It’s impossible really. It was easy when I worked at HP. I just said I worked at HP and that covered it. But at an agency where I work with dozens of technology clients and several more that we represent that I don’t work with regularly how do you cover it all?

I have a disclosure on my main blog and state that I work for Waggener Edstrom on most of my bio’s but if you aren’t in the industry there’s a really good chance you don’t know who Waggener Edstrom is. Even if you do know who we are you may not realize all the clients we work for (and that’s not even a full list).

The short answer is:

If it’s even vaguely technology related I represent someone who has an interest in that field.

And in many cases we represent several clients with a vested interest. Should I create a full page of all potential conflicts work related or otherwise? Should I disclose personal biases? Maybe I just don’t like some companies. Or had a bad experience with a product. I have good friends that work at certain companies, should I disclose those as well. What about services that I use and like, should I disclose those?

Or is stating my employer and trusting that if people really want to know they can go look? I think what I will do is add the above, “if it’s technology related…” line to my bio where I can.

What about you? How do you deal with all the potential perceived or real conflicts of interest?

Photo via my own Flickr

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Ask AP iPhone app

I heard a lot of good things about the AP iPhone app and it is pretty cool. It syncs with Evernote which is pretty cool right there.
But then under the categories I found an Ask AP section. I don’t know if this is something they’ve had for a while or not but it’s kind of cool.
If you have your own news-related question that you’d like to see answered by an AP reporter or editor, send it to[email protected], with “Ask AP” in the subject line. And please include your full name and hometown so they can be published with your question”
Sent from my brain telepathically.

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