Links for 05-31-07

Posted by Connie Reece on May 31, 2020 at 10:04 pm

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Video: Wikis in Plain English
In just under four minutes, Lee LeFever at Common Craft explains what a wiki is and how to create one — using plain English and simple drawings. Demonstrates the superiority of a wiki over e-mail for organizing and storing information and communication during project collaboration.

Communication Overtones: Behind the Scenes: Anatomy of a Successful Digg
Kami Huyse, one of my favorite PR bloggers, shows how traditional PR methods combined with social media to vault a whiz-kid blogger from India to the front page of Digg in just 13 hours — sending more than 300 hits a minute to the teen’s site. Kami gives the timeline and tools used.

Why PR Doesn’t Work and How to Fix ItGreat analysis by Brian Solis, principal of FutureWorks in Silicon Valley, CA.

The Difference Between Marketing, PR, Advertising and BrandingMuhammed Saleem of Pronet Advertising points to four simple graphics that illustrate the differences between these disciplines. Web strategist Jeremiah Owyang offered a fifth illustration that added social media to the analogy.

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Category: Linkworthy

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The Culture of Community

Posted by Kelley Burrus on May 28, 2020 at 4:37 pm

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to be a part (even minor) in bringing together creative thinkers, policy makers and dreamers.

Understanding the rare opportunity to combine these worlds (and connect the dots), it was with enthusiastic possibility I accepted a position on the CreateAustin task force to help provide a foundation of cultural communications and collaborations for Austin, Texas.

An eclectic and diverse group, we’re charged with identifying and recommending a plan of action for the cultural community of Austin over the next ten years. Talk about a serious responsibility.

Do we tackle diversity of culture, definitions of art? Yes.

Do we seek out, educate ourselves and provide a platform for the varied voices of the community. You bet.

To do anything less would not be the spirit for which we gather.

Reflecting on these deliverables, I realized that this is a direct parallel to what we’re facing with the world of social media. The decisions and practices we lay down today will affect “the community” for years to come. It’s an exciting time. It’s an important time.

As diverse as our faces and places, it’s essential that “community” is outlined to include represented voices of all (raised eyebrow or not). It’s about creating a respectful place of dialogue, a place of tolerance and a place of inclusion.

Locally, regionally, worldwide-the conversation is key . . . and could somebody please pull up a few more chairs?

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Category: Social Media, Conversation

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Dell Understands the Power of Conversation

Posted by Connie Reece on May 24, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Just a few minutes ago, at 4:00 P.M. Central Time, Dell’s online sales department made marketing history by offering its U.S. customers three new computers with Linux technology installed. I’m fascinated with this story for a couple of reasons.

Number one, my friend Whurley has made a Linux convert out of me. I do most of my work now on a Sony Vaio laptop running the Ubuntu 7.0.4 OS, the same operating system the new Dell machines will feature.

What is most intriguing to me is that this product has gone from idea to market in three short months — at the request of Dell customers. Back in February Dell launched a site called IdeaStorm, inviting customers to “jump into the eye of the storm.”

Dell Idea Storm

Customers quickly made their opinions known: Linux-based machines were the number one request. Dell listened to their customers, carried on a conversation with them, and they responded with the new offering.

To hear directly from some of the Dell employees who made the Linux offering happen, watch this short video featuring Lionel Menchaca, Dell’s Digital Media Manager. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Lionel through Social Media Club Austin. He’s the person who dived head-first into the blogosphere to tackle Dell’s customer service problems and start polishing the company’s tarnished image. Lionel is backed up by a number of other bloggers, and the most important thing is that the top management trusted the Direct2Dell team and actually turned them loose to freely interact with customers.

My hat’s off to the people at Dell for understanding the power of conversation. Remarkable things are happening because of it, and I hope the sales of their new Linux-based computers skyrocket.

How are you using the power of conversation as part of your marketing plan?

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Category: In the News, Conversation, Marketing

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Start-up Launches Blog to Fight Lawsuit

Posted by Connie Reece on May 23, 2020 at 12:17 am

[cue soap opera theme]

Stay tuned for As the Worm Turns . . .

Plants Love Worm PoopBeing a certified brown thumb, I seldom pay attention to happenings in the lawn and garden market. But a friend brought my attention to the fact that industry giant Miracle-Gro, which has close to 60 percent market share, has sued eco-friendly startup TerraCycle, whose business consists of harvesting worm poop and packaging it in plastic bottles recycled by schools and charities. That’s right: worm poop. Says so right on the label. Vermicomposting, the New York Times says, is the more formal term.

The lawsuit claims that TerraCycle’s product labels are deceptively similar to Scotts Miracle-Gro because they feature green and yellow colors with circles and photos of plants and vegetables. Hmm. Even without my reading glasses I don’t have any trouble telling the two products apart.

Miracle-Gro vs. Terracycle

Another part of the lawsuit involves TerraCycle’s claim that plants prefer organic rather than synthetic food-a claim TerraCycle says is supported by a scientific study, but which they have refused to release.

I’m sure the respective corporate lawyers will don their pin-striped suits and duke it out in the legal arena.

What’s particularly interesting to me is that TerraCycle has chosen to take the battle to the court of public opinion: their in-house PR/marketing team has created a blog that presents the lawsuit as an epic David-and-Goliath battle. They have posted copies of all the legal pleadings, documented over 100 other plant food products with green and yellow labels, started a legal defense fund with a “donate now” button, and even created a comparison chart of the two companies and their CEOs.

My guess is that the driving force behind the lawsuit is the fact that TerraCycle, dubbed “The Coolest Little Start-Up in America” by Inc. magazine in 2006, can now be found on store shelves alongside Scotts’ perennial money maker at Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Target. Why else would a $2.7 billion company take such aggressive action against a comparatively tiny company with a paltry $1.5 million in sales?

Now, I have yet to drink the Al Gore-flavored, globally warmed Kool-Aid, but I do recycle and I support green initiatives. And even though I can’t grow a plant to save my life, I have a hunch that these worm poop proponents are on to something big. I’m also genetically wired to root for the underdog, so I admire the chutzpah of the young company’s marketing team in taking on the industry leader in the blogosphere.

How do you think it’s going to play out? Will the strategy of publicizing the lawsuit and branding itself “Sued by Scotts,” as the new site is named, work in TerraCycle’s favor? Can the David of the plant food world bump off Goliath with a mere blog?

Jump in with your two cents’ worth.

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Category: Public Relations, In the News, Blogging

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Best Social Media Conferences?

Posted by Connie Reece on May 22, 2020 at 1:29 am

My favorite evil genius, whurley, has asked me to help out one of his co-workers, “Y,” by recommending the best social media conferences to attend.

Of course, SOBCon07 was high on my list because of its emphasis on relationship blogging. And we’re in the process of persuading Liz Strauss and the other organizers to do it again next year. It was such a resounding success that I’m pretty sure we can talk them into a second edition.

Any social media conference list would be incomplete without New Communications Forum; this annual event, sponsored by the Society for New Communications Research, is held in March.

Excuse me for being self-serving enough to mention that Austin will be a host city for a Social Media Workshop featuring the co-founders of Social Media Club — Chris Heuer and Howard Greenstein — plus noted blogger and author Shel Israel (Naked Conversations) … and me! The new series is called Starting the Conversation. Details about the September event to follow, of course.

Now, let’s hear your recommendations for Ynema. Take a look at her blog and ask yourself, “If I were ‘Y,’ what social media conferences would I want to attend?” List them in the comments and tell her why you made your choices. I’ll make sure she gets the information.

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Category: Social Media, Events

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A little reality check on the Social Media News Release

Posted by Brenda Thompson on May 20, 2020 at 4:30 pm

At Austin’s sold-out Social Media Club meeting last Thursday night, I admit feeling a bit of relief upon learning that I’m not as behind the curve as I feared. Panelist Omar Gallaga, who writes about technology culture for the Austin American-Statesman, told us that he didn’t know what a social media press release was until he was asked to speak at the meeting, and furthermore, most of his colleagues at the newspaper don’t know about or use RSS, Technorati or, can’t download or view videos on the Statesman’s computer systems and don’t have time to explore the blogosphere.

While conceding that some features of the SMPR are useful and welcome, Omar says successful pitching is about the PR professional’s relationship with the reporter. The content of the pitch, several audience members noted, is still the most important factor in getting a reporter’s interest. Many reporters get hundreds of emails a day, most irrelevant to their work, and detest getting unsolicited photos and .pdf files. Nothing new or surprising there.

While I am super excited (as geeky as that sounds) about incorporating social media tools into my work, I’m being a bit cautious, learning all that I can, and reminding myself that the story is still the most important part of a pitch, whether it’s to traditional media or to bloggers. As Todd Defren, creator of the SMPR says: it “merely amplifies prospective source materials; it does not replace a well-crafted, customized pitch nor replace the need to provide basic, factual news to the media.”

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Category: Public Relations, Social Media, Social Media Club

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My friend Tim Johnson

Posted by Connie Reece on May 17, 2020 at 2:54 pm

Connie’s post about her new blogging buddy, Tim Johnson, made me think about my own friend who is also named Tim Johnson. Tim is a U.S. Senator from South Dakota and someone I worked for when he was first elected to Congress in the ’80s. Tim is quiet and hard working and doesn’t get as much notoriety as some of his colleagues. He is one of the most honorable people I’ve ever known and proof that there are some great people representing us at the highest levels of government.

In December, Tim suffered a brain hemorrhage, while he was at work, and was rushed to George Washington University hospital. He underwent surgery immediately, was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, and has been in rehabilitation and recovery since then. There was a great deal of news coverage at the time because the balance of power in the Senate rested on his condition.

The following photo of Tim has just been released for the public. It shows Tim up and walking with a cane and giving that determined look I know so well. Tim is a fighter and he loves his family, state and country. He will, no doubt, recover and return to the Senate on a full-time basis very soon. I encourage your thoughts and prayers for my friend Tim Johnson, and for his family and excellent Senate staff.

~Mike Chapman

Tim Johnson photo

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Category: Connections

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Podbit 001 - Why I Switched to NBC News

Posted by Connie Reece on May 16, 2020 at 1:07 pm

Kelley Burrus and I have embarked on a new adventure: we’re creating a podcast, called Podversation. Because we’re novices, we’re still in the learning stages of audio production, figuring out how to edit various recorded pieces together, then add podsafe music and voiceovers to make an enjoyable listening experience.

In the meantime, we will release individual audio files. Podversations will be longer interviews and discussions; Podbits are “audio appetizers” — tantalizing, bite-size snacks of opinion or observation to whet your appetite for conversation.

In this first podbit, I describe how my Twitter pal Jim Long influenced me to change my news-viewing habits. Click to listen, and let me know what you think in the comments.

By the way, the audio player I’ve used here is a free service from Evoca, one of the sponsors of the SOBCon conference. Evoca appears to be drop-dead easy to use, and I can’t wait to explore the social networking capabilities of the site as well as its recording and uploading features.Shout-out to Diego Orjuela, COO and co-founder of Evoca, whom I met in Chicago and with whom I had to share my most embarrassing moment as part of a group exercise. He’s not gonna tell, though, because I know his deep, dark secrets too. :-)NOTE: If you’re reading this in an RSS reader, you may need to click through to the site to hear the audio file.

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Category: Connections, Twitter, Podbits, Audio, podcasting

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My New Blogging Buddy

Posted by Connie Reece on May 15, 2020 at 5:47 am

Timothy L. JohnsonLast weekend’s SOBCon in Chicago was a truly memorable event. One of the fun — and remarkable — things the organizers did occurred in the final moments. We had all dropped our business cards into a big bowl for the door prize drawing. As we left the conference, we each picked a business card at random out of the bowl; that person is supposed to be our blogging buddy for the next 20 years.

I’ll probably be blogging from a retirement home by then, but I’m sure I will still enjoy reading Carpe Factum, the work of my new buddy, Timothy L. Johnson. In addition to teaching MBA classes, Timothy is a popular speaker, management consultant, and business blogging coach.

Gust by Timothy JohnsonTimothy provided conference attendees with a copy of his latest book, Gust: The “Tale” Wind of Office Politics. I did not have a chance to meet Timothy until the conference had ended and I had already drawn his card out of the bowl. When I realized that the man autographing books at the registration table was my new blogging buddy, I sat down and introduced myself.

You’ll be hearing more from me about Timothy because my responsibility as a blogging buddy is to help promote his blog, and to support and encourage him by staying in touch. I have a feeling I’ll get much more out of this relationship than I give.

Question: how could you use this same idea to foster a mentor-buddy relationship within a civic group or business association? Let me know your ideas in the comment section.

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Category: Connections, Bloggers

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The Grandmotherly Type Who Twitters

Posted by Connie Reece on May 14, 2020 at 4:05 am

Wouldn’t you know it. Sheila Scarborough and I had to fly all the way from Austin to Chicago to get acquainted at SOBCon07. Sheila blogs about family travel and drag racing, and I really enjoyed having a conversation with her.Connie Reece

And thanks to Sheila, I earned a new description at SOBCon: “the grandmotherly type who was live twittering” — which is exactly what I was doing at open mic night. The next morning we were laughing and chatting away at top-speed when Sheila made that comment (she’s definitely a high-energy talker and blogger), and for a split second I didn’t realize she was talking about me.

Then I made the connection and I thought, “Me? Grandmotherly?” And I cracked up. I don’t have children, let alone grandchildren, so I’m not accustomed to thinking of myself that way. But hey, I am definitely old enough to be a grandmother.

The neat thing about that, which is what Sheila was pointing out, is that age is not the deciding factor when it comes to learning or adopting new technologies. Yes, I’m something of an anomaly as an older blogger and social media maven, but I’m still curious, still craving knowledge, and I’m following my passions.

So, Sheila, especially for you, I am posting my inner blogging diva photo here. You gotta admit. I am one rockin’ grandma, right? :-)

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Category: Events, Connections, Twitter, Bloggers

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New events from Every Dot Connects:
Jan. 29 Up to Speed with Sheila
Feb. 17 Consulting with Connie
Feb. 19 High Tech, High Touch with Jennifer