Monday, October 31, 2011

"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions." Naguib Mahfouz

"Scientists are explorers, philosophers are tourists." Richard Feynman

"Stay hungry. Stay foolish." Steve Jobs

Today's image: Wet Tracks by Thomas Hawk. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Happy Halloween! During my annual the doc told me I had to lay off the boos.

Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?

With thanks to Carole King, let me suggest that in the massive, ongoing sea change that is digital disruption, few of us are staying in one place anymore. Consider this proffer: Your media consumption, your behavior, will be as different five years from today as your behavior today is from what it was ten years ago. Your media production, your acts of creation and those of everyone have been assisted, enabled in truly profound ways.

Let's take one of the moving parts: social networks. Facebook and Twitter are first generation platforms. Both have made a significant impact. Both enjoy global reach. Both are building a business, a brand, without the need to invest resources in traditional marketing channels (i.e., advertising). In fact, ad-supported measured media have been the aggressive, albeit unpaid, promotional partners of both. "We all need to spend more time on Facebook" opined Tom Webster, Edison Research's Vice President, Strategy and Marketing (and their resident social scholar). Of course, Tom's right. Last week, Jacob Media's Lori Lewis and Fred Jacobs issued a clarion call about social, Time Suck: "'s time to adapt to a multi-channel environment and study the motivations behind each channel. Or simply get left behind..."

Nobody stays in one place anymore.

Occasionally I hear from folks kind enough to ask me why I'm not blogging any longer. It's a fair question given 200+ posts a year appeared in this space during 2006, 2007 and 2008. Recent years not so much. 54 posts in 2009, 13 in 2010 and, with this, 8 posts so far this year. The quick answer is I'm still sharing my thoughts but not in this one place anymore. For example, 3 years, 7 months and 15 days ago I began posting on Twitter. My guess is I'm sharing far more on Twitter than I was ever able to share here because I can tweet a real-time link to something just read. Moreover, I can do that on the fly without my laptop or desk top via a hand-held device. The sense of time and space has changed dramatically in recent years.

This is not to suggest blogs are dead or on the way out. Nonsense. My take: there are more and better blogs than there have ever been and I have a reader full of unread posts to prove it. The signal to noise ratio is also greatly improved because our tuning tools are better. As Nathan Jurgenson wrote just yesterday "Social media is like radio: It all depends on how you tune it." [Why Chomsky is wrong about Twitter] My sense is there's nothing wrong with the fire hose. Shirky was right. What we have is a filter problem.

Some might say I have over-shared on Twitter. 36,396 tweets and counting. Guilty, not every tweet has been a gem worthy of a retweet. Let me also say I love to blog and will continue to use this space to share thoughts that require more space and time. This blog isn't dead, yet. It has simply become only one of the places where I'm living out loud. Humblebrag: I'm told my smiling clown Twitter account ranks 107,373 out of the 10,999,157 scored by so I'm closing in on breaking into the exclusive five figures club.

While I'm not able to comment on the veracity of such rankings or grades, it's interesting to note Grader's Top 100 Twitter Elite includes only three American media outlets. Fox News at #14. Huffington Post Washington bureau at #18. New York Times at #76. The list is dominated by individuals. This seems to hold true across DMA after DMA. Media, broadcasters especially, should be doing a much better job. Congrats to Thomas Clifford, my Twitter pal from Appleton, Wisconsin. He's ranked #9 and lives by the motto "Find out what sucks and don't do that."

Want to gain solid insight into the emergent metrics of social? In my experience, the go-to-guy on social media data is the aforementioned Tom Webster. You may find his blog, brandsavant, here.

Doing business in 2011 without having some kind of personal digital presence (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog) is equivalent to trying to do business in 1990 without a telephone number or fax machine or claiming you're competitive in business ten years ago without having an email account. Table stakes. What's changing is not only the cost of doing business but the resources required to be and stay competitive in business. New devices are also changing consumer behaviors. Example: Amazon is offering a tablet which, it may be argued, is a personalized point of sale device. The prospective impacts of social commerce are magnitudes of net force larger than the changes brought about so far by today's nascent social networks.

Identity is being redefined

Who are you on the web? Used to be having email was enough. Now, Facebook, Google, Twitter and players to be named, are in a battle to own the so-called identity space. Twitter, being asymmetrical, gained an early edge over symmetrical Facebook but Zuck changed it up adding the asymmetric feature "Subscribe." It's the Wild West, no standards yet for "social authentication." It's an important issue. Stay tuned.

It's the dawn of this digital disruption. The best is yet to come. My suggestion is we'll look back on 2011 someday soon and laugh about how lame, crude all of these early platforms really were. But in the meantime, in between time, the conversation is happening with or without you so it's important to get into the game. Now more than ever, your assets must be digital, discoverable and ready to share. Be yourself. Have fun. Share.

Another example of being in more than one place. This is a must-read not shared here last month but via my posterous. Speaking at Social Media Week - Chicago, the great media critic Robert Feder said...

"...It's about engaging the reader and that's one aspect of it but it's an important part of the new media and the world that we're in and that didn't happen in old media, that didn't happen at the Sun-Times. We wrote our piece, we went home, that was it. It was a monologue delivered and that was the end of the process...people, younger people in particular, are engaged in all media they consume and that includes news and journalism and they want to be able to react, they want to be able to use it in different ways, and that's what we're affording them the opportunity to do. I'm just setting the table, I'm starting the conversation every day and what happens out there is up to the people who read it."

Emphasis above (bold) mine. Robert speaks of a fundamental change. From delivering a monologue to starting a conversation. The difference is engagement. Once upon a time print writers heard from readers when readers had taken the time to call or write a letter to them or the editor. Letters, delivered a day or so after, may or may not have been edited and published. We didn't get to read the mail of the newspaper writer. Today we do and find it odd if the ability to comment fails to follow an online writing.

Robert offered many interesting and important points during his talk, here's another:

To me, you should never take your eye off the quality of the content, that's what matters

The play's the thing. It was ever thus. Read more excerpts from Robert's thought-provoking appearance, here.

Refresh: The People Formerly Known as the Audience, written by Jay Rosen in the summer of 2006, deserves a fresh reading, here.

Cool, new, on: findings  Pinterest

Bonus: Patrick LaForge on the new "Generation Gap" via Google+, here

Video: "Studies show that sketching and doodling improve our comprehension - and our creative thinking. Sunni Brown makes the case for unlocking your brain via pad and pen." I highly recommend her book, Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers [Amazon info]