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Blogging evolution – what’s next? October 29, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Blogging is so easy. Everyone has access to tools to communicate original ideas, topics that catch our interest as blog posts. So, now that blogging has been around a while, what’s next? Let’s assume that anyone who wants to, can, and has, a blog. Typically, blog posts include a topic of interest, maybe some points on pro and con, an image or two and some links. What is the next evolutionary step?
Seems like we skipped the milli-blogs step as Twitter changed the game and brought us micro-blogging. Your ‘post’ on any  topic contained in 140 characters. Brief text and maybe a link. Continuing the evolution and thread, as we iterate blog best practices, consider what nano-blogs may look like. I can see a temptation to skip the content and just share links. Maybe a terse headline with the link.

We have this already with sites like ping.fm that broadcast your ‘posts’ to multiple sites.  I like that ability to aggregate accounts, post to one site and move on. Other services to re-post such as ‘Add This‘ or ‘Share This‘ provide a quick way to share content. Other sites have the ribbon with various share icons at the bottom of the page. Going forward, does using any one of these count as a blog post?

The next blog evolution (pico-blog ?) could involve a trail of the sites I liked, gave a thumbs up or viewed for more than 3 minutes. The time duration can be argued of course and I will leave the privacy issues aside for now. Point is, how does it get easier to indicate what catches my attention that I want you to be aware of? Maybe, there’s an future app that will show what sites I am looking at currently. I hope such a tool includes controls to manage what I share and keep private.

What are you looking for to make blogging easier? What will drive blogging to evolve? Is there a list for requirements somewhere? OK, if not a list, how about a common view on new features?

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Consumption choices force change October 26, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Television broadcasters are the most recent in the group trying to limit access to their content. The broadcasters are attempting to protect their advertising revenue. This defensive tactic to maintain the status quo is a flawed, yet, typical reaction. The record business tried to prevent music sharing and failed miserably. Newspapers, books, radio tried to keep their content locked. Now, TV broadcasters are pursuing a similar tactic and are missing the bigger picture on consumption.

In this interesting post by Om Malik at gigaom, he describes how this knee jerk reaction is due to short term thinking. Look ahead to understand changes in your business. Consumers want (expect, actually) to have choice in access to your stuff, period.  Any business trying to maintain the status quo will not last. From a previous post, content is still King and it remains a competitive advantage, not the media platform.

Exercise your option for consumption via a related post on the shows you can watch for free.

WSJ Review of Windows Phone 7 October 21, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Microsoft is back in the game with the release of Windows Phone 7 according to Walt Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal. But, there are some flaws and this release is not enough to be competitive. Watch the video via the embed below or the short link.

Briefly, Walt’s overview covers the unique interface along with highlights of pros and cons.

Pros include :

  1. Unique Interface  with tiles of apps, functions and hubs along with links to long documents
  2. Mobile MS-Office interface provide access to some formats (not all)
  3. Xbox Live Hub access is great for gamers

Cons include :

  1. Cannot multi-task
  2. Does not include a ‘Copy & Paste’ capability
  3. No Visual Voice Mail
  4. Does not include Video Calling

Bottom line – MS is back in the game with this release but not quite on the same level as competition in the super smart phone category.

As he mentions, Walt’s complete review is on the AllThingsDigital site.

Video embedd
http://online.wsj.com/media/swf/VideoPlayerMain.swf

Search Basics for Images October 18, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Baby steps here on ways to improve SEO results with images. I have ruminated before on communicating sans words.   Improving search result with your images can be achieved by adding a few meta terms.

Here is a recent post from SEOMoz on somebasic ways to improve search results for images. The video clip talks about the following SEO topics:

  1. File Name – descriptive
  2. Duration – specify how long the video is
  3. Alt Text – variation summary
  4. Surrounding text – brief overview about the piece

Metrics can be collected on each of the topics above. Also, you can collect data on various forms of engagement

  1. # watched only the beginning
  2. # watched to the middle
  3. # watched entire clip

While not a great embedd, as an alternative to the above link, you can use the link to watch the White Board Friday video :

 

http://seomoz-cdn.wistia.com/flash/embed_player_v1.1.swf

// SEOmoz – SEO Software

The ‘I before E’ rule is done. October 14, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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This familiar spelling mnemonic has been around for a long time (circa 1876). But, it doesn’t work anymore. It recently occurred to me that there are many exceptions to this rule. So many, that it is not useful as a rule anymore. I realized this as I struggled in spelling the word ‘efficient’.

I know but, hey, it happens. Thanks to the online spell checking, I noticed I kept spelling it incorrectly. I tried variations ‘effecient’ – nope; ‘efficeint’ – no, wrong again. It didn’t look right, feel right. Eventually, I spelled it correctly and that’s when the ‘i before e’ rule came to mind. A short time later and a quick check via wikipedia shows that there are more exceptions to this rule than I realized. To paraphrase William Safire “When there are more execeptions than rules, there aren’t any rules”.

Each of us has a few words that are routinely mis-typed. I submit that this happens regularly when using any device with a keyboard. A problem of our modern age, I suppose. Don’t remember that problem when writing with pen and paper. Slower processor speed perhaps had something to do with that. There is another old saw about rules, exceptions and also how they are meant to be broken.

Efficient, indeed.

Has Worker Productivity peaked? October 13, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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A recent report from the Labor Department indicates that worker productivity may have peaked and actually be in decline. That can be good news for the economic recovery as companies will need to hire more workers to maintain growth.  Companies are beginning to realize they simply cannot get more work from current employees and they need to be aware of the burnout effect. To maintain growth then, companies will need additional workers.

This is good news for job seekers and will have a positive impact on consumer spending.

Are you as efficient as you can be? Has “doing more with less” been played out at your company? Do they plan on hiring?

Using YouTube for SEO research October 8, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Interesting take on using a well known resource in ways you may not think of. Turns out that YouTube can be a great source for SEO keyword research. With so much information posted to YouTube every day, it actually makes sense to use as a keyword rich resource. Here is article that walks through the process. Note that it was posted on SEOMoz by a member, not one of the staff.

Clearly thinking outside the box here to use a great resource in another way.  I like the way the research can also be used to define the site hieararchy. Here is a tangible benefit of the research so clients can understand the benefit or keyword research.

Also, it’s fun to say to your boss “I’m doing research while watching YouTube”.

Manage your local business listing to improve SEO October 7, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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When it comes to boosting your local search results, having an active business listing is easily overlooked. Business owners can use these ‘interactive yellow pages’ to improve customer awareness. This can be a great word of mouth (WOM) referral for new business. Here is a recent article from SEJ that talks about what to do after you list your business.

For the small business owner, managing your business search results is protecting your interests. Make sure it is on your SEO to do list. If you don’t have the time or experience, hire someone to assist you.

Listening to Radio on the web October 6, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag, Trends.
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If you haven’t done so already, add this to your multi-task list. Listening to radio online has never been easier. Chances are that one or more of the stations you listen to has a web site. Instead of using discrete components,  you can access  radio favorites on your PC, laptop or smart phone. Using a browser of choice, you can dial in to current radio favorites and also learn about new sources for your listening pleasure. Each has their own relative pros and cons and all are currently free for basic service. Several offer paid subscriptions that offer advanced features. There is a cornucopia of content with talk radio, sports, music, news and more choices in the long tail. Give one or more of these stations a listen. Where required, creating accounts is quick and simple. Several provide ways to share songs or playlists with Facebook or Twitter and other sites. I regularly  listen to online radio stations from multiple sources. Here is a partial list.

One station that was an early favorite is  WBER. They were one of the first stations to stream their content and today enjoy a world wide audience. Back in the day, I would listen using a dial-up modem (!) connection. They are affiliated with our state education system and provide internship opportunities for high school students. The music genre is Alternative. It is worth noting that their playlists routinely influence program directors on competing stations as they are regular listeners.
WBER online


I also want to plug NPR. While I am not as active a listener as I have been in the past, NPR has lots of great shows. If are a fan, great. If not, I encourage you to give them a listen.

NPR content online


Geographic limitations with broadcast listening are eliminated using internet radio. A great by product of our flat world. If you have moved, chances are you can find a one time local station online and tune in once again. Commercial stations include ad spots, of course. Recently, I have noticed Slacker inserting ads more frequently than in the past. Note the domain name with blip is not the usual .com. It is blip.fm.
create playlists, listen to the radio



Be your own DJ on Blip.fm

Listen to your favorites and songs from other DJs


Create your own station
streaming from the music genome project

music genome project


Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN


So many stations, so little time. Let me know your favorite. Until then, as Charles Osgood says, “I’ll see you on the radio”.

Don’t judge a book by its’ cover when you can peek inside October 5, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag, Trends.
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You’ve heard the cliche about book covers and what is inside. To remove all doubts and really determine what a book is about, you have to look inside. A common design goal for the cover image is to reflect what the book is about. After all, to paraphrase another cliche, a picture is worth at least a few words. Yet, the cover does not always depict the contents inside. I have seen too many business books that do not lend themselves to useful imagery.

The major e-tailers selling books include several ways to not only look inside, but also, interact with the content. Using a book I bought after looking inside (my review), here are various ways this experience is provided:


Not to be outdone, book publishers also offer ways to glimpse inside. Over at Harper Collins, you can even read multiple pages. They provide an interesting embedd badge to easily leverage books from their catalog. Here is a soon to be released offering from the well known writer, Elmore Leonard.


Browse Inside this book
Get this for your site

This image accurately relates to the content. It easily invokes potential content ideas that are contained inside. This ‘browse inside’ embedd gives away content that is easily leveraged by other sites. I assume that somewhere there is a hook to track usage. The data collected would include title, author, ISBN and other related information as part of the tally. This re-use feature can be a competitive advantage for publishers as a key differentiator for sales. The related data analysis may provide insight into trend behavior and reveal new opportunities to drive sales.

Each cliche has a grain of truth and now we can judge a book not only by its cover but also by what’s inside.

How have you taken advantage of this preview? Has it changed the way you judge books?