Lee Odden on stage (Courtesy of ionSearch via Creative Commons)
How to achieve an ‘optimized state of mind’
Idon’t do a lot of book reviews because I don’t like to skim books. I really read them, and that takes time.
However, one book I couldn’t put down was Lee Odden‘s Optimize, which he graciously sent me earlier this year (disclosure: I received a free copy of the book but was not even asked to write a review). I was so excited when it arrived that I immediately started thumbing through it.
Yup, that’s a photo of my copy of the book, with all those little flags, and sticky thingummies.
It’s just a terrific book – not just about SEO (search engine optimization) but much more about getting into an “optimized state of mind.” That is “where you integrate social principles and a community element into content marketing – and to which you naturally apply good SEO principles – to grow a business that flourishes through attraction and engagement.”
And if you’re going to stay competitive in today’s marketplace – forget about excelling, it takes so much to just stay abreast – you have to be able to do this. Ideally, you’ll start to do it better and better. Continue reading →
I‘m at NewComm Forum this week, probably the best gathering of minds around social media, marketing and new media anywhere. (I’ll be speaking Friday about the future of journalism.) It’s also a superlative venue for networking.
Last year I met Kathleen Clark of San Francisco-based CirclePoint. As part of our continuing series of vignettes with experts about different aspects of social media, Kathleen talks about the use of social media by government agencies in this quick 4-minute interview. She makes the often-overlooked point that members of the public who can’t attend government agency meetings in person can often contribute their ideas and feedback through sites like Twitter and Facebook.
CirclePoint specializes in strategic communications development and environmental planning. Many of their clients are public agencies working on infrastructure projects and seeking to implement communications for public outreach and public education. One key client is the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, which wanted to reach a broader audience through a public presence for them on Twitter (5,215 followers) and on Facebook (I just “liked” them).
Why should companies and government agencies take up social media? “It lets you tell a story in a personal way, and to have a higher level of engagement with people,” Kathleen says. “Traditionally, the mode at a lot of government agencies has been to talk at people. Social media lets you talk with people.”
Accessibility comes into play, too. Not everyone can come to a public meeting. But if you’re a government agency, you can put out the call for feedback on Twitter, Facebook or other social networks, and you can reach a broader segment of the public and hear their concerns, she says.
Here’s an 8-minute video interview with Leigh Behrens, president and editor-in-chief of PNN.com. The Personal News Network is a community site and blog platforms that targets mostly women, “the fastest-growing segment of user-generated content creators,” Leigh says.
PNN allows you to easily get up and running with a blog and add your own voice and “to begin to grow your own social content on the site,” she says.
“The feedback we keep getting is that there’s really a kind of an intimate, personal and supportive feeling that goes back to our name — Personal News Network. People like the idea that they can share their thoughts and ideas in an environment that’s really supportive.”
Here’s a 7-minute interview with the utterly charming, thoughtful and geekworthy Alexia Tsotsis, the tech and business reporter for the LA Weekly newspaper.
The bangin’, off-the-hook tech columnist talks about how how the LA tech scene differs from the scene in Silicon Valley: In Los Angeles, it’s mostly about the digital side of the scores of entertainment and production companies as well as bloggers, content providers and others who work in the industry.
LA Weekly uses Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, widgets, Digg — “we’re one of the best practices sites that I’ve seen,” she says.
I’m fascinated by talented young media professionals like Alexia who don’t have a traditional j-school background — they’ll be making up an increasing part of the journalism profession in the years ahead.
“I’ve never been a by-the-book journalist — that’s why I have a lot of books, in case I wanted to reference them,” she says. “Right now, the idea of what a journalist is is being restructured. It’s really a ripe, fertile time for anyone who has a different idea of what reporting the world of news is — to get their foot in the door and try to change things.”
Here’s a recent interview I did with Netvibes CEO Freddy Mini in the company’s San Francisco offices. Widgets (little pieces of code that bring in real-time data) are becoming increasingly important in the Web 2.0 world — to individuals, companies and organizations — and Netvibes has been an early pioneer in the field.
Netvibes provides widgets and personalized start pages to 2.5 million active users. You can access 146,970 different widgets — all free — in the Netvibes Ecosystem section. Many widgets have only a small, tightly focused readership, but others have broader appeal. For example, the Technology Review widget, featuring headlines and images that accompany recent articles, has had 657,077 installs. (If you’re logged into Netvibes, you can install it here.)
Following is part 3 of my 3-part series on open APIs and crowdsourcing community news. Cross-posted from the IdeaLab.Part 1, Part 2.
At the NetSquared conference for nonprofits in San Jose on May 27-28, one of the most intriguing projects I heard about was Social Actions,
a project to tie together disparate cause movements through an open API
that would aggregate information about dozens of different campaigns
and allow users to take action to further a cause.
"Our mission is to put actions in front of people who are most likely to take part," Peter told me. (He lives in Montreal; his team is scattered across the U.S.)
I think this is relevant to news organizations for two reasons:
Traditional news organizations have been in passive mode for decades. It’s time to consider planning campaigns that engage the readers/users and invite
them to participate in a direct way toward a goal, whether it’s a charitable cause or a public service, such as a public awareness campaign. The traditional mindset of journalistic objectivity has turned newspapers into passive observers, out of step with the passions and interests of their communities.
There’s that term "open APIs" again. As Peter explains, online news publications are free to hook into these APIs, meaning that instead of just reporting about a problem or issue, news reports could go one step further and offer tools and links that let users take action, whether it’s to donate, write a letter, sign a petition, join a mailing list, become a member of an organization — and that only scratches the surface of the potential for interactivity and collective action.
Howard Rheingold wrote about Smart Mobs
in his latest book. The approach of participatory media flies in the
face of the traditional media paradigm of delivering content down
one-way pipes to a passive audience of consumers. But increasingly,
we’re turning to social networks and collaborative tools to make sense
of and take control of our media, our communities, our lives.
Where are the news organizations willing to play in this new social sandbox?
I don’t see many out there, but there are certainly lots of nonprofits and cause organizations eager to participate in this new space of engagement. This ties directly into the new direction Ourmedia.org will be taking shortly.
Alas, I was paying too much attention to the funky lighting and so didn’t do a sound check with the SC HMX10 hi-def camcorder
that Samsung graciously loaned me, and I’m embarrassed by the choppy
sound quality. The wind was whipping around something fierce.
I need to buy a lavalier mic (aka lapel or tie pin microphone). Any recommendations?