Cafe Witness

Saturday, September 29, 2007

5 Reasons Social Media Makes Me Want to Claw YOUR Eyes Out

Once again, I must qualify this post with a disclaimer: I create social media. At times, what I create is quite good, and I enjoy the process. I also enjoy the community aspect of social media.


There's a LOT of fluff and very little substance to social media (so far), and that extends to the way in which we frame our arguments. So, if at all possible, I'd be extremely pleased if I never had to hear the following statements again:

1. "___ is a rockstar."

Sooner or later, everyone who creates new media and impresses someone ELSE who creates new media is knighted on that other person's blog or Twitter as being "a rockstar."

Do you wonder why the idea of celebrity is dead? It's because a guy with a microphone in his attic is referred to as "a rockstar" by the 7 people who listen to him.

If the Sandwich Artist at your local Subway doesn't know who "___" is, that person is not a rockstar.

2. "Many people around the world are supporting ___ by doing ___ today."

In today's case, Beth Kanter (who does great and noble work, mind you) filled in the blanks with: "Many people around the world are supporting the Monks in Burma by wearing red t-shirts today."

Sorry folks, but supporting "X" means calling your senator, or volunteering with a charity, or taking to the streets in impassioned protest. It's not finding a red t-shirt in your laundry pile and walking to 7-11 for a Sprite.

Can we stop confusing the appearance of activity with activity itself?

3. "Scoble___"or "i___"

As the biggest rockstar of them all, it seems blogger Robert Scoble is capable of having nouns, verbs and adjectives ascribed to him. Robert may (or may not) be a nice guy, deserving of all the fanfare alloted him by his acolytes.

But whether he is or not is actually beside the point, which is (once again): if the person laying pickles on my veggie sub doesn't know who he is, I sincerely doubt they'll know if they've been "Scobleized" or not...

Likewise, every time you arbitrarily add an "i" in front of a common noun or verb, an angel falls screaming from heaven.

4. "The power of community..."

Yes, community is important. Yes, there is power in community. And yes, it's safe to say that very little in life has ever been accomplished without the combined efforts of multiple, dedicated people.

But if we who create social media keep deluding ourselves into believing that this phantom notion of "community" will somehow "save the day," we're sorely mistaken.

Community is fun. Community is free. Community is empowering and rewarding and comforting and enviable and safe. But community alone does not validate the existence of something when contrasted to The Bigger Picture. Community is a by-product or a means toward something successful, not an end unto itself.

Doubt me? Ask your audience to pay your rent this month.

Every month.

5. "I don't need to monetize ___ to justify it."

Yes. Yes you do.

If you're blogging, and thousands of people are reading, but you're not profiting from that, you're wasting your time.

If you're creating a podcast that has a rabid following and zero income, you're wasting your time.

If the creation of your podcast / blog / website / widget / etc. costs you even one penny more than it brings in, you're wasting your time.

I don't want to hear about how the "power of community" is justification enough. I don't want to hear about how "monetizing is missing the point." And I certainly don't want to hear ANYONE say, "I'm just going to tread water a little longer because I KNOW success is right around the corner."

Success doesn't find you; you find it. There are exceptions to that rule, but basing your financial, mental and emotional wellbeing on becoming an exception to a rule is possibly the least intelligent course of action you could take -- especially if the rule you're flouting is "make money to survive."

Until the vast majority of us who create social media, and who comprise the larger "community" associated with it, can get beyond the puppy love stage of attraction to this medium and begin producing content that both matters AND generates revenue, the fishbowl is in no danger of being assimilated.

Nor are we in danger of actually becoming rockstars...

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why Social Media Doesn't Matter (Yet)

I produce social media, both for fun (Something to Be Desired) and for a living. And I can say, even as one of the medium's biggest supporters, that it simply doesn't matter.


Why? Because we, with rare exception, are not producing media that matters.


Here's the paradox: given the financial, creative and time constraints imposed upon aspiring social media creators, most people do exactly what they've been told since their first writing lesson: write what you know.

This results in a rich tapestry of user-generated media about quirky content that small groups are passionate about. And yet, despite even the larger success stories, very few people are creating media that appeals to an audience outside the early-adopter tech / niche / geek fishbowl.

Why? Three reasons.

1. Who's Watching Me?

The largest audience for this kind of content IS the affluent, tech-obsessed population. This tends to exclude large segments of the populace by association. (Thus, why produce media for an audience that isn't there?)

2. Great Expectations

To produce something akin to "mainstream" media -- whether comedy, drama, news, education, etc. -- forces the potential audience to compare that independently-produced media with the slick, corporate-funded media presented to them every day, across multiple distribution platforms, for free.

This is not a comparison in which the average, pop culture-beholden consumer will find in favor of the indie, so why invest resources in attracting their attention in the first place?

Thus, based solely upon the two initial premises, the aspiring social media creator is faced with a choice: invest time and effort in becoming large WITHIN the fishbowl, and hope that niche appeal eventually translates to a scalable opportunity within the traditional corporate media structure...

... or, attempt to create something "populist" from the get-go, knowing that the odds of acceptance are diminished on both sides (from the culture AND the counter-culture, each of whom will see the creator as an half-compliant outsider).

3. No One (Including the Creators) Actually Cares

The other reason social media doesn't matter (yet) is because social media creators, with rare exception, fail to use the democratic potential of this medium to engage in MEANINGFUL conversation or incite ACTUAL change.

Take Alive in Baghdad. Everyone who's familiar with the series, who's watched a few episodes, or who knows creator Brian Conley personally, realizes that AiB is one of the landmark creations in social media's still-nascent history.

The premise of the series -- actual stories of Iraqi citizens, filmed by Iraqis and translated for the American (and world) public -- appeals directly to the "renegade" sensibilities of the social media culture. We all inherently recognize the risks Brian is taking and the potential for change that AiB provides. This makes Brian's tale the easiest to tell, the one that's most inspiring, and the comparison that's hardest to live up to.

It's also, apparently, almost impossible to sustain.


Because the social media audience (like the mainstream audience) doesn't want to involve itself in stories outside its own fishbowl. It doesn't want to tumble down the rabbit hole of world politics, or theology, or sociology. It doesn't want to risk taking actions that may be inconvenient or uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, if you post a Twitter about the new iPods, or mention an upcoming tech conference, or ask what people's favorite fonts are, you'll be overwhelmed with replies.

The fishbowl, it seems, is safe.

Will It Blend?

How do you reconcile:

* a medium built upon democratization,
* a culture steeped in consumerism, and
* a community comprised primarily of intelligent, independent and strongly opinionated -- yet ultimately insular, self-obsessed and apathetic -- individuals

with the possibility for this emerging medium to become relevant (and even catalytic) beyond its own borders?

I think those of us who've moved beyond the simple creation of social media and taken the time to foster its community need to ask ourselves a few questions:

* Why am I doing this?

* What constitutes "success" for me?

* What's IMPORTANT to me?

I fully expect that, for 90% of the social media population, the color choices among the new iPod Nanos ARE what's important to them. That's not their fault -- the fishbowl is a welcoming place, and their voices ring much louder within its walls than they would outside.

But, for the other 10% who can somehow sense that social media is capable of more than just generating record-setting Halo 3 sales numbers...

... or driving up demand for the iPhone...

... or defending the career of Britney Spears...

... surely there must be something more we can do?

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why Twitter Scares People

Some people claim to fear Twitter (and social media in general) because of its seeming captivity at the hands of the inane. They worry that our culture is being hijacked by the mouth-breathers and the endlessly self-fascinated, and they refuse to give in to the urge to tumble into their own navels.

Fair enough.

But an equally large portion of the populace are petrified of Twitter for its disarming ability to cut through the BS and the way it encourages its users to remove their veils. Its 140 character limit is challenging, not just because it enforces brevity, but because it robs many of us of the flowery contexts we've come to rely on in blogs, or podcasts, or other social networking tools.

On Twitter, we have to be blunt. We have to be relevant. But most of all, we have to be ourselves.

And that's when people panic.

Not everyone, obviously, or the site wouldn't be growing at the rate it is. But, now that it's entering its 3rd or 4th iteration of acceptance, and ebbing further and further into the mainstream, it brings with it a host of new users who believe these highly-targeted opt-in services are their ticket to insta-marketing dominance.

Boy, Are They Wrong.

Whenever someone "follows" me on Twitter, I check their profile to see if it's someone I'd like to follow back. I read their most recent page of posts. If those posts are all links to their blog (or someone else's), I ignore them.

Why? Because Twitter leaves the power of the conversation in my hands -- and why would I want to voluntarily be talked at by a company while I'm otherwise engaged in useful conversation?

Likewise, the people who mistake Twitter for an invitation to repost their RSS feed, or to make PR-tinged statements designed to lure people to their own website, are missing the point. Instead of proving their merit through legitimate dialogue and adding value to the ongoing discussion, they believe disrupting that very discussion with a personal announcement -- essentially, an ad amidst the content -- will somehow be well-received by the participants.

How ludicrous.

Ask yourself this: who's more likely to get your business as a wedding photographer -- the person who takes great photos, is courteous and witty when approached, and engages you in conversation near the open bar, or the person who usurps the microphone during the best man's toast to remind the guests that she offers discounts on bulk prints?

Like social media in general, Twitter is all about personality. If you don't have one, don't bother.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Finally: A New Pittsburgh Play Worth Supporting!

Since my girlfriend is a theatre person, I see a lot more stage plays than I might otherwise. That's difficult, because Pittsburgh's theatre scene is regularly horrible.

Specifically, Pittsburgh fails to support new, envelope-pushing work. That's because 90% of its theatre-going audience are senior citizens, who prefer reimagined classics over anything that generates actual discussion or controversy. Thus, there's no audience for new works, so no one performs them, and therefore most under-40s in Pittsburgh believe that theatre is a medium that can't possibly speak to them.

Here's a play that will hopefully break that mold: David Turkel's "Key to the Field," being produced and performed by the Bricolage theatre group at 937 Liberty Ave. (Tickets $15 here -- don't worry, I make no commission.)

I saw it last night. It was wonderful, gripping, compelling and satisfying -- easily the best play I've seen in Pittsburgh in the past 2 years. Hopefully you'll agree.

I won't attempt to explain what the play is "about," because that's kind of the point -- this is a piece of art from which everyone will be able to draw their own conclusions. Double-casting, a non-linear narrative and a heavy dose of surreality create a story that's part modern allegory and part road trip nightmare. However, it's not so open-ended as to be aggravating for the more traditional theatregoers who require logic and closure.

Interesting side note: I originally saw "Key" during last year's Bricolage summer reading series, an annual (FREE) event in which 6 plays are read for an audience, one per month, to generate feedback for the authors. At the end of the reading series, the audience is asked to vote for the play they most enjoyed. The winner is staged by Bricolage the following year.

"Key" was last year's winner. It's almost entirely the same in most respects as it was during the reading, with a few structural changes that have tightened the plot and made the underlying themes more prevalent. IMHO, this is a great example of what can happen when a talented writer receives valuable feedback and applies his own common sense to the existing flaws in his story. With "Key to the Field," Turkel has produced a play he -- and Pittsburgh - can be proud of.

So, do yourself (and the city) a favor: go see "Key to the Field." Bricolage deserves our support, so they can be encouraged to continue creating new, relevant and engaging theatre. (And, if it works for them, maybe someone else will do it, too...)

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why I Hate People

(Updates at bottom of post.)

This month was supposed to be "No Woe" month on this blog, but fuck it. When human beings are as barbaric as they are to each other, it's futile to pretend that refusing to address the negativity in the world will somehow make life better.

See the dog in this picture? This is Buju. He was adopted from the Animal Rescue League, where I volunteer.

Buju was loyal, friendly and beautiful. But, because his mom decided to move to a place that didn't take pets, she brought him to the ARL. I worked with this dog nearly every day. I walked this dog. I played ball with this dog. This dog missed his mom so much that he would curl up against the cage after a walk and allow himself to be petted, against the bars, for as long as I was willing to kneel beside him, because all he wanted was to go home.

I knew this dog.

Then this happened.

Fuck people. Fuck each and every motherfucker out there. Fuck the people who think dogs don't matter. Fuck the people who think "there was nothing we could do," or that this isn't a "real problem," or the sign of a society so impossibly fucked up that this passes for "minor news."

Fuck the woman who decided her dog was so inconvenient to her personal life that he had to be put in a shelter. Fuck the newpaper for thinking the ARL would have euthanized Buju (he wouldn't have been on the adoption floor if that were the case).

But especially fuck the bastard who did this. It's times like these I wish I believed in hell, because that's where I'd like to see you burn for eternity, you heartless, disgusting waste.

Fuck you.

*UPDATE* 12:43 PM -- Looks like they found the bastard. (Thanks to Sunil for the link.)

*UPDATE* 1:58 PM -- I just had conversations (both in person and via email) with a couple ARL employees about the possibility of improving the check-up system. Evidently, they DO do (minimal) follow-ups on adopted animals via phone, and they also make suggestions on resources people can use if their adopted animal still has behavioral issues, etc. (Thus, I've retracted that accusation from my earlier rant.)

However, they assured me there's no chance of the follow-up procedure changing. In essence, making it harder to adopt dogs would mean more dogs would be put to sleep. Thus, they're already doing the best they can.

I call bullshit.

It was also pointed out to me that, in this particular case, there was nothing the ARL could have done to prevent this because the original owner reclaimed her own dog and THEN gave him away. As far as the ARL is (legally) concerned, there were no further actions they could take.

Ironically, this makes me even MORE frustrated...

I believe I may take a break from the ARL for the moment. Granted, it's not the dogs' fault they're in there. But when you're presented with an opportunity to look yourself in the eye and say, "Yes, we need to improve what we're doing," and all you can come up with is "It could be worse" or "We're doing the best we can," it turns my stomach.

I'm sick of mediocrity passing for quality in this world; is mediocrity now passing for goodness too?

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Season Five of Web Sitcom STBD Has Launched!

I know most readers of my personal blog (aka this one) are well aware, but just in case you aren't: Season Five of Something to Be Desired (or STBD), the web sitcom I created and have been producing since 2003, launched last week.

STBD is a comedy about life after college. We produce a new 10-minute episode every Monday, here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a local cast and crew (usually just me). And, while we're not always "worksafe," we're usually worth plugging in your headphones for.

If you visit our site, you'll see we're already up to our 2nd episode of the season, but the nifty new Blip TV player allows you to watch ALL our episodes within the same player. (Just click "Guide" and then the "Episodes" tab along the bottom.)

Hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Test-Driving BlogRush

Andy Quayle asked (via Twitter) if anyone else was using BlogRush. Having never heard of it, I checked it out and, suitably interested, dedided to give it a shot myself.

What Is BlogRush?

It's a traffic aggregator for your blog.

See the new BlogRush widget in my sidebar? Those are all links to other people's blog posts, which BlogRush thinks cover some of the same bases as my own blog posts. Kind of like Google ads, but for blog referrals instead of retailers.

How Does Blog Rush Work?

That remains to be seen, since I just installed it. But, in theory, every time someone comes to this site, one of my blog posts gets pinged out into the BlogRush referral network. If I get 100 visitors a day, the BlogRush network will ping my posts through that widget 100 times.

Where it gets interesting is in the "tiered structure" of referrals: if you sign up for BlogRush by clicking on the tab below the widget (or by clicking here), my blog(s) get additional views via the BlogRush network. (And if someone signs up through your widget, we both benefit... and on and on...)

So It's a Pyramid Scheme?

I'm not sure.

On one hand, yes, it does seem structured that way. But since the resources being aggregated are page views, not actual cash, it somehow seems more benevolent, no?

On the other hand, it could easily become a tool for spammers, so I'm very interested to see how BlogRush combats that.

And, lastly, I have no idea how this applies to RSS views. If someone reads my blog posts in a reader and never actually visits the site... does that register as a "visit"?

It's all food for thought, but I'm interested in seeing how it plays out. I'm also interested in seeing how accurate the widget aligns other blog posts with mine. Semantic web, here we come...

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

(Maybe) Twitter Saves Lives - And How YOU Can Help

Len Edgerly twittered today:
My mother, 78, has MS & is about to run out of Cylert aka Pemoline, a drug taken off market by FDA in 2006. She depends on this to function... We found a forgotten supply of Cylert in Casper, Wyoming last year and have scoured the world looking for more. Anyone with pharmacy links? ( Cylert was taken off market because it caused liver problems in some children. Not a concern for Mom. She also uses bee stings to fight MS.)

I've never met Len, and our tweets usually pass like ships in the night. But this struck me as one of the most important potential uses of Twitter -- to exchange real-time IMPORTANT information with people who may be able to help.

Never mind that half the people in anyone's Twitterstream are complete strangers, connected only by a vague interest in one another's work, or hobbies, or shared geography. When someone needs help, there's a basic human urgency to help that person.

I don't know anyone who works in the pharmacy world -- but I do know a lot of people. (So does Len -- he'd just Twittered to Robert Scoble moments earlier.) And so do the people I know. Surely, somehow, someone we know must be able to help Len Edgerly out.

Perhaps the folks behind Twitter can get involved in the effort as well -- if only for the free publicity. After all, as Len twittered a few moments later:
Mom jokes she'll get a tatoo that says "I'm here because of Twitter" if my effort to find FDA-banned Cylert aka Pemoline for her MS succeeds

Now wouldn't THAT be a positive social media story?

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bigelow Tea Interview with Joe Torre & Phil Simms

I do freelance work with clients large and small to create web video. My most recent video was just made available today -- an interview with Joe Torre and Phil Simms for Bigelow Tea, a company whose green tea is a staple in both men's households.

If you're a sports fan (or a tea fan), you might enjoy seeing Phil and Joe talk about tea, health, sports, success... and the latest Rocky movie.

(Meanwhile, in the "There's No Such Thing as Coincidences" Department: Prior to filming this video, I hadn't been in NYC in long while -- since before 9/11, actually. Meanwhile, the first episode of Gardenfork TV I ever watched took place at the Shake Shack. So, where do we end up filming this video? Madison Square Park -- home of the Shake Shack...)

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why 9/11 Doesn't Matter

It was 2003, I think. I was sitting at Eat 'n Park (a Pittsburgh family restaurant chain, like Denny's but cleaner), writing and drinking coffee.

Two booths away, a college-aged girl and her mom were having dinner. Somehow, 9/11 had popped up in conversation, and the girl recounted her experience that day:

"I remember I was in bed, and I heard the answering machine come on, and it was you saying 'Turn on the news, the World Trade Center is collapsing.' And I'm laying there like, 'I don't know those people? Why should I get up?'"

Then she laughed, and went back to eating dinner.

If you lived through 9/11, I'm sure it affected you. It changed the way you look at the world, at skyscrapers, at cities and countries and governments.

If you didn't, it probably didn't change much of anything.

The world won't grind to a halt today in memory of 9/11. It will grind to less of a halt in 2008, and 2009. And, in another generation, 9/11 will be Pearl Harbor, or D-Day, or (at best) the Grassy Knoll. It will be a story we tell our kids and grandkids, but not something they have a conscious connection to. It may even be a cultural oddity, depending upon how the winds of policy and history blow.

But it won't matter to them. Not like it does to the New Yorkers who were there. And not like it does to anyone who watched, awestruck, and wondered how different the world would be after that.

Soon, the people who don't have an attachment to 9/11 -- the people who weren't there, weren't born yet, weren't paying attention -- will outnumber the ones who do.

But the people who slept through it will always outnumber the people who didn't.


Does Anybody Use MySpace Anymore?

Just wondering...

I know there's a gap between the early adopters who use the HELL out of something (like the social media core and MySpace, or Twitter, or...) and the general public. Personally, I haven't logged into either my personal or my STBD account on MySpace in weeks, except to send the occasional "I don't have your email and this is the only way I can find you" message.

Your experience?

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Friday, September 07, 2007

5 Good Things About the Death of Net Neutrality

According the the BBC, the Department of Justice has decided that Net Neutrality is bad for America.

If you don't know, the basic concept of Net Neutrality is that ANYONE, ANYWHERE, should have the EXACT SAME ACCESS TO ALL INFORMATION as EVERYONE else. That means a poor inner-city student using her library's computer and a corporate CEO in his penthouse apartment should be able to surf the EXACT SAME INTERNET at the EXACT SAME SPEED.

The Department of Justice (perhaps momentarily forgetting the name of their office) disagrees. They believe Net Neutrality -- aka the internet as we've always known it -- hinders business growth.

Instead, the DOJ sides with the ISPs in suggesting that ISPs should be able to charge more for priority traffic -- or, in other words, if you want the web to work the way it always has, you should have to pay more.

Normally, I'd be livid about this argument. But, because September is No Woe Month here at Cafe Witness, I'd like to look at things from a different point of view. So, without further ado (and no irony), let's take a look at:

5 Good Things About the Death of Net Neutrality

1. Creative Competition -- Allowing the ISPs to pick and choose what services are available through their systems gives them a cable-like power over what their subscribers can see. If that seems bad, consider this: The Sporanos would never have been allowed on network TV. What other great content can't survive in an open internet, but could flourish in a walled garden?

2. Fewer Trolls -- If it takes longer to surf the web because the information is bottlenecked, you'll be less likely to waste that precious time leaving trollish messages on blogs, won't you?

3. Media Consolidation -- Let's say Verizon signs an exclusive deal to carry ESPN360 -- which, according to Tilzy TV, it seems has happened. Instead of both companies making concessions to meet each others' needs, the next step is to simply consolidate ESPN (and its parent companies, ABC / Disney) and Verizon. Bigger business = bigger reach = bigger buying power = a win-win situation for company and consumer, who won't be distracted by too many choices. (It worked for AOL-Time-Warner, after all.)

4. Higher CPM Rates -- Let's face it, if only the wealthy will be able to experience an uninterrupted flow of internet information, it stands to reason that the ads on the sites their ISPs allow through should carry a higher CPM rate because their audience will be more affluent, have more expendable cash and is obviously determined to use the internet as a lifestyle tool. Great news for everyone trying to monetize social media -- all we have to do now is craft media that the rich want to see.

5. Fewer People on the Internet, Period -- After all, if I CAN'T get the information I want when and where I want it (or, more precisely, I won't be willing to pay extra to get it), I might be inclined to do something else entirely -- like go outside... or read a book... or have a life...

The internet: it was a fun experiment while it lasted.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Problem With Sameness

Should you use the same hiring protocols to find your next programmer AND your next plumber? Seth Godin doesn't think so. And yet, how many companies have a multifaceted approach to hiring employees with vastly different functions?

Does your child have ADD or another learning "disability"? Whitney Hoffman outlines the trials involved with expecting her non-standard learner to conform to a standard learning environment.

I don't think it's a coincidence that social media has such a hard time catching on with the mainstream. After all -- where else in modern society are we taught that our individuality is a blessing, not a curse?

Now, the million-dollar question: If society has long been entrenched to encourage sameness (for ease of governing, business, medicine, production, etc.), how do we disrupt that lengthy tradition without becoming the generation that tore down the curtain but had no answers?

How do you teach the world to think individualistically?

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tweet Tooth

I'm following nearly 200 folks on Twitter. And, even though there's a good amount of Twitter overlap amongst my friends -- i.e., a lot of us show up on each other's lists -- I'm willing to be there are a few folks that I consider to be irreplaceable in my day, but whom you have never met, nor even heard of.

Thus, an idea -- not unlike Blog Day:

Who Are Five People YOU Should Be Following on Twitter?

(NOTE: This list is completely subjective AND meant to suggest those flying under-the-radar, so I won't be including obvious names like Chris Brogan.)

1) Jim Long -- A veteran NBC cameraman who often tweets from the field, Jim takes us behind the scenes of the world news machine. I learned about the VA Tech incident and the President's trip to Iraq from Jim's tweets long before I heard about them on the "news."

2) Scott Simpson -- Quite possibly the funniest man on Twitter. (I won't bore you with the details of his day job, and neither will he.)

3) Locobone -- More pop culture skewering than an episode of MST3K. His blog is quite good, too (but needs to be updated more often *nudge*).

4) Zadi Diaz -- The face of JetSetShow, she also does a great job representing the pulse of the West Coast social media scene. We East Coasters could use more of Zadi.

5) 21st Century Citizen -- Not funny, just practical. If you're even the slightest bit Green -- or would like to be -- these tweets may come in handy. (I know, 2000+ followers isn't exactly "under the radar," but still...)

So... who are YOUR suggestions?

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Negative Drain Goes to #1


Two days ago, I wrote a post about The Negative Drain -- the "woe-is-me" attitude that derails the productivity of both the complainer and the listener.

Today, less than 48 hours later, that blog post is the #1 Google return for the phrase "negative drain". That's #1 out of 11,000+ citations in quotes, or 2,400,000+ without. Either way, I topped a Google search, with almost zero effort.

Granted, this obviously isn't a term a lot of people are using, but I find it astounding that I could capture the top spot of ANY Google search in such a short period of time -- especially when the term actually seems to be somewhat popular in engineering circles.

So... what do I do with it now? (If you answered, "register the URL," I'm one step ahead of you...)

Meanwhile, somewhere, a guy who makes a living at SEO is losing sleep....

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