WinExtra’s Daily Brief: We Don’t Need NO Stinkin’ Cameras

Technology can be a serious pain in the arse. Yesterday VodBurner had issues the knock on effect of which was that we couldn’t record Daily Brief. Today their was a VodBurner/Skype compatibility issue which resulted in my video not showing in the stream.

Thankfully for you guys that means you get all the info from Daily Brief without having to look at my mug too much ;)

Massive props to Steven for managing to pull the disparate pieces together into something that resembles a show for today :)

Oh, before you ask, I have no idea why Steven posted a picture of Robert Scoble when we were talking about Ray Ozzie!

Show links.

Make sure to subscribe to the WinExtra channel on YouTube to get the latest episodes.

Advertising for Arrington

Arringtons Attention

If theres one thing that no business can survive without, it’s customers and if I were a hosting company looking for some big name clients I’d be looking to get sites like TechCrunch on board.

I can only guess at the amount of data used by a site like TechCrunch on a monthly basis. We burn through between 800 Gigs and 1200 Gigs depending on the submission at Daily Shite and our traffic is nowhere near as large as theirs.

If you were a hosting company trying to get TechCrunch to move to your dedicated servers what would you do to bring someone like Michael Arrigntons attention to your service?

For a company called Storm, the answer is to take out Google Ads targeting Arrington directly.

Check out the image of the add I saw on Shooting At Bubbles earlier this morning.

Storm appear to be going all out in their attempt to garner Arringtons attention as a quick search for “Mike Arrington” on Google shows:

Arrington Google

What do you think? Would this be effective in getting your attention? Would ads like this spur you to give a different service a chance? Will it work for Storm?

Podcast: WinExtra on Windows #05: Microsoft Needs A James Bond

WinExtra On WindowsYesterday Steven and I sat down and hashed out another episode of our Microsoft focused podcast, WinExtra On Windows.

Laughs, rants and insight abound as Steven and I discuss the Google’s recent Bing moment, software vulnerability, exploits, Google’s irresponsible behavior, Office Live and the failure of Microsoft marketing.

Posts referred to in the show:

Enjoy the show :) .

:http://scrw.us/wow5

Download WinExtra On Windows #05 (Right click and select save as).

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Got something to say? Leave us a voice-mail for next weeks show at (US) 251 272 9633 or email us at podcast@winextra.com.

Lets Call A Spade A Spade: It’s Influence Media

4 spades

Spade or shovel?

I woke up Saturday morning with a number of things floating around my mind, such as the amount of time until I next see Sara, how I was going to get all my work done before the Ireland Vs England rugby match and a nagging, scraping feeling in the back of my mind about relationships.

As the caffeine from my first cup of coffee began to work it’s way into my system it hit me that relationships are about 1:1 communication.

Okay, admittedly that’s a fairly obvious to most people and not exactly a revelation. It’s something that we all know and many of us have been advocating online for years. If you want to grow your brand or blog you have to foster 1:1 relationships with your readers/followers/fans in order to develop loyalty.

I’ve always thought that social media was about developing and nurturing those relationships. I thought it was about communicating with your fans and followers, about growing that 1:1 connection that would allow organic growth as those you’ve developed relationships with will feel comfortable enough with you or your brand to recommend you to their peers, thus introducing you to a new social circle where you can again begin to develop the 1:1 relationships.

That, in a nutshell is what social media is to me.

What I see happening online today, being pimped and pushed by “those in the know” is not social media, it’s influence media.

In order to get ahead today we are still being told to foster relationships but not with our followers (or at least not so much).  The prevailing school of thought, at least to my cynical eyes, is that in order to grow you must foster relationships with just a handful of influencers and allow them do the work of communicating your message or spreading the word.

That’s a smart marketing tactic (to some degree, it still lacks 1:1 familiarity with the people you want to reach) but it’s by no means social media. It’s influence media.

It’s a numbers game where we use services or look at the follower numbers in order to find people like Scoble or Chris Brogan, suck up to them and hope that they will spread your word to the people you want to reach. Obviously the more of these influencers you can grease up then then the more people you can reach and the quicker you can reach them.

Which leads me to ask why are people promoting this process of finding these influencers and soliciting them to spread the word rather than fostering the actual relationship/social media approach?

The answer oddly enough is that these influencers are actually good at the social media side of things (that’s how they became influencers) but they are also very smart people. They know that by promoting the “influnce media” model they are setting themselves up as hubs.

Promoting social media as being the practice of finding influencers to spread the word for you actually encourages others not to become influencers, which removes competition and removing the competition is key when being an influence hub is a lucrative business.

You may have boobs and kids, but you aren’t a mommy blogger!

It doesn’t matter who you are, we all feel the need to be part of a group, part of a collective which we can identify ourselves with. It gives us a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging and direction.

In the blogging world, this is a great thing. Groups create influence and help drive recognition and traffic, however, it all goes to hell in a hand basket when that group gets infiltrated by marketers.

That’s what has been happening with mommy bloggers recently and they’ve been having a rather public crisis of faith as they attempt to define what a mommy blogger is.

It all came to my attention when Sara wrote about the storm surrounding the idiotic idea of a “Blogger PR Blackout”, and came up again today when Stephanie Azzarone asked:

One wonders what would happen if the marketing world instituted an extended “Blogger Blackout” in return — no samples, no giveaways, no coupons, no trips. And readers would then keep going to those blogs because … ?

Kind of shines a light on what the PR world really thinks of bloggers, right?

Mommy bloggers are facing this issue because some of them appear to feel the need to, as Maria from Mommy Melee puts it, “lump together every blogger with a vagina and a child”.

Are you female, do you have kids? Then you’re a mommy blogger!

It’s as bad as being a Roman Catholic! No choice is given, they take you as soon as you’re warm.

As I see it from the outside, the mommy sphere consists of two distinct types of blogger (and those who straddle the fence of course), the actual mommy bloggers who talk about their kids, their lives, their experiences plus anything else that interests them and then you have those who use their blogs as a marketing tool to shill products and services to other mommy bloggers.

Now before I go any further, let me make it clear that I know plenty of women who are mothers and do not identify themselves as mommy bloggers. They are not being talked about here. I’m only talking about those who identify themselves as such, not those who are identified as such by the defensive and needy mob.

I have no problem with monetizing your blog. I attempt to monetize this one.

I have no problems with mom bloggers doing product reviews and giveaway’s.

What I do have a problem with is identity.

Once the focus of your blog stops being your own content and your own ideas you stop being a mommy/tech/sports blogger.

When posts that are your own exclusive content start becoming filler posts between the next marketing article, review or giveaway, you stop being a blogger.

When the sidebars and content of your blog contain more adverts than the personals section of a cheap tabloid rag, then you stop being a blogger.

Do you know what it is you become? You become a marketer! If driving products and profit is your primary goal with your blog, then you are a marketer.

I would suspect that the most ardent voices within the “mommysphere”, fighting to say that blogs full of product reviews are acceptable as mommy blogs are those who have transcended blogging into marketing.

They know that by being identified as mommy bloggers companies will give them more products to hawk and by being a so called mommy blogger they have a built n market.

Remove the mommy blogger association and all they’re left with is a blog that would otherwise be considered a splog – a spam blog.

The “mommysphere” has split into two groups – the mommy bloggers and the “mommy marketers” and the sooner it realizes that, the better off it will be.

Social Media Douchebags! Who tops your list?

New Media Douchebags Explained

One thing that bothers me about social media and this entire web 2.0/3.0/stardate 7265.39 climate that we have today is the number of self professed “experts” and “gurus” out there.

I’ve been around the web since pretty much the beginning and if there is one thing I am not, it’s an expert at all this stuff. I never will be. It’s a continually changing landscape with constantly emerging technologies and challenges and in order to get ahead in this, you are on a constant learning curve.

Perhaps, the one thing I do have however, is experience and from that perspective I can tell you, that the vast majority of “experts” are little better than the snake oil salesmen of the 1900’s and televangelists (because for some reason their omnipotent and all powerful god always needs your money!).

Let’s be honest, the vast majority of people involved in the social media/marketing game are just out their to make a quick buck at your expense. The web (and I bet your town) is full of intelligent, highly talented and proficient people, who are willing to give you, for free, their advice, time and help for little more than the chance to network and meet new people and friends.

(As a side note Social Media/Marketing = Social + Media, or Social and Media, or S&M! Think about it!)

Right, let me get to my point here.

Over a year ago, Kevin Dixie (of FuelMyBlog) and I were discussion the fact that all of the social networks always have a list of people you are recommended to follow when you join (or worse yet a list of people automatically added to your friends list) and the fact that this is just plain unfair.

A lot of these people are there, well, because they are on somebody else’s list, which inflated their “popularity” enough that the next site to come along says “Well, they’re on the Facebook/Twitter/Friendster list, that means they should be on ours!”

See where I’m going with this?

You have a situation where the vast majority of “popular” people are either artificially inflated (and not just in terms of their numbers, think silicone), are trying to sell you something, or are involved in obsessive compulsive circle-jerking with other marketers and “experts”.

So what does this have to do with Kevin, or even with you? I’m only stating what we all know already!

Well, here’s the kicker, back when Kevin and I were having that discussion we considered making a “Social Media Douchebags” list.

Basically an “anti-recommended” list.

A list of marketers (@mike_wesely),  trolls (@arrington), people who don’t even bother to write their own stream (@guykawasaki), and bleached blonde wannabes (@ijustine “I am the internet”? What all your ports or open or anybody can log on?) who consider themselves “stars” just because they have a large number of followers. A list of people who take your time, flood your stream and give little back. A list of people who are only popular because of the sheep mentality (@aplusk, @oprah)!

Today I propose that the list finally gets built.

If you’ve got someone you love to hate add their twitter address in the comments below and say why. Over the next few days I’ll sort and compose the list together (giving credit to all and adding in the reasons why!) and post the “name and shame” list of douchebags here.

Maybe then some of these people will stop what they’re doing, change their practices and I don’t know… stop being douchebags?

Who’s on your list of “Social Media Douchebags” and why?

You only get out what you put in

If you want traffic from social networking sites (like Fuelmyblog)to be driven to your blog then you need to participate in the sites.

Simply signing up, adding your site and then buggering off and ignoring the service will benefit you nothing and is quite simply a waste of time.

A word of warning. If after signing up for a service and not using it, you then have the nerve to email me and complain about the lack of traffic you received, when you’ve never so much as left a comment elsewhere, then I will take a very big stick and beat you round the head a few times with it.

Enough said!

Emotion versus marketing

I’m an emotional being. Very much so. If I wasn’t life would be so much easier.

Today I wrote a post that was entirely based on what I thought was a logical / marketing approach to breaking out of a stereotype.

Unfortunately my post was met by some with very emotional responses. Some were so emotional that it took a reply comment before they revisited my post to see what I actually wrote rather than what they first perceived I wrote ( and I thank them for re-visiting).

But why should a post about what is essentially a marketing question be met with such open hostility?

is it because of the demographic involved? Or is it something more?

Thoughts are appreciated, even from those who tell me I wasn’t being logical at all :)