Dialogue vs. Monologue: Six New-Media Principles, No. 1
NOVEMBER 23, 2011
As I wrote in yesterday’s post , over the next six days I will be discussing six new-media principles, adapted from my forthcoming e-book, the New-Media Survival Guide. Today’s principle is based on the importance and power of conversation, reflecting new media’s emphasis on dialogue rather than monologue. We ignore it at our peril. But that’s the challenge.
Fear and Social Media Don’t Mix
NOVEMBER 19, 2011
MUD day 19: A friend of mine who works for a large nonprofit institution serves on a panel that’s trying to decide what the institution should think and do about social media. Should it encourage its employees and other stakeholders to use social media? Should it restrict what they say and do there? Or should it stay strictly hands off, neither aiding nor impeding social media activities?
30 Lessons from 30 Blog Posts in 30 Days
NOVEMBER 30, 2011
Twenty-nine days ago, I set out to write a post a day for this blog. Somehow, despite a couple of late nights, I managed to achieve my goal. Though no one’s going to hand me a blogger’s version of their badge, I feel something akin to the mixture of pride and relief all those successful NaNoWriMo writers must be experiencing today. My less-than-helpful blogging companion. think so. Share the links!
“Content Is Power”: Q & A with Mark W. Schaefer
NOVEMBER 29, 2011
Mark W. Schaefer. couple of years ago when I started B2B Memes it was my plan to focus exclusively on trade publishing. But as I looked around the blogosphere/Twitterverse, it didn’t take long to realize that the most enthusiastic and informed discussions about B2B communications involved not publishing, but marketing. For me, a journalist, this came as a jolt. Use your head. love that!
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A Word Every Publisher Should Know
NOVEMBER 14, 2011
Skeuomorph. It’s one of those words you have to look up several times before you can remember it. For those unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia defines it nicely: “a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original.” Why should publishers care about skeuomorphs? There isn’t a single right answer.
Process vs. Product: Six New-Media Principles, No. 6
NOVEMBER 28, 2011
The new-media principles of transparency and openness discussed in my last two posts mean that readers can both see and participate in the process of journalism itself. They are no longer handed the finished product in the form of an article and asked to move along. For both reader and writer the change can be liberating, exciting, and rewarding. The downside, of course, is that the process is messy and prone to mistakes. Behind every fact-checked and edited story is a tale of false leads, dead ends, and empty promises. The process is not pretty. But hiding it benefits no one.
3 Traits of Editorial Success
NOVEMBER 7, 2011
MUD day 7: Editors should be pleased by Malcolm Gladwell’s review in the latest New Yorker of Walter Isaccson’s Steve Jobs biography. In it, Gladwell argues that Jobs’s peculiar genius was not so much creative in nature as editorial. His sensibility, Gladwell writes, “was editorial, not inventive. His gift lay in taking what was in front of him. and ruthlessly refining it.” ” As I thought about the characteristics of Jobs’s genius after reading Gladwell’s review, I realized that in fact some of them are shared by successful editors.
Shakespeare Was an Aggregating Social-Media Pirate
NOVEMBER 21, 2011
Aargh? In yesterday’s Los Angeles Times , theater critic Charles McNulty wrote a marvelous column inspired by his objections to the Roland Emmerich movie, Anonymous. Though he disputes the movie’s thesis that no one with Shakespeare’s lower middle class roots could have written such great masterpieces, that wasn’t his aim in writing. But the accusation would be false. As
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One Way the Web Will Change the Book
NOVEMBER 6, 2011
MUD day 6: New-media enthusiasts, myself included, sometimes talk as though print is dying. That’s a strategic exaggeration, of course. No form of media is ever killed off by another. Rather, each new form of media transforms those that came before it, sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically. In a similar way, I think, books will be liberated by digital media. In it, he interviews C.J.
Collaboration vs. Control: Six New-Media Principles, No. 2
NOVEMBER 24, 2011
In yesterday’s post , I described new media’s foundation in conversation, the preference for dialogue over monologue. Today’s principle is closely related. Conversations are only truly conversational when they are collaborative. If anyone controls the conversation, it ceases to be one. But for traditional journalists and marketers alike, the notion of giving up editorial control can be challenging. Many print veterans, for instance, have difficulty accepting the idea that good editorial content can be provided by readers volunteering their work. Want to Twitter Better?
Three Ways to Make Media More Personal
NOVEMBER 20, 2011
MUD day 20: Back in the late 90s or early aughts, one of the hot topics in the Web 1.0 world was personalization. On the industry portal site I ran for much of that time, we had what seems now like a pretty lame concept of personalization. We wanted to let our registered users select their interests from a predetermined set of categories, then present a customized home page when they logged in. We never implemented our plan, but it hardly mattered. The onset of Web 2.0 and social media, along with the impact of Google search, would have rendered our efforts irrelevant. Aggregate.
Social Media and the Clash of Brands
NOVEMBER 10, 2011
MUD day 10: On his new blog today, UK journalist Tony Hallett considered a question raised indirectly by my Tuesday post on destination versus identity. His concern was with personal identity versus publication identity, or, if you prefer, personal versus corporate branding. In traditional print or broadcast media, the corporate brand controls the personal brand—except in a few rare cases, writers are expected to adapt their voice to that of their venue, and publication editors make sure that happens. But as he noted, social media largely defies such control.
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NaNoWriMo, Social Media, and Measurability
NOVEMBER 2, 2011
Month of “Um” Days (hereafter MUD) day 2: If April is the cruelest month, as the great Tom Eliot once observed , November must be the lamest. As the not-so-great Tom Hood wrote , No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day. No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, No comfortable feel in any member —. And, in case you’re wondering, I’m not one of those people.
Six New-Media Principles: Introduction
NOVEMBER 22, 2011
This month, besides writing these time-limited daily posts , I’ve been putting the finishing touches on an e-book to be called the New-Media Survival Guide: For Journalists and Other Print-Era Refugees. If all goes well, it will be available next month. Stay tuned. Like many posts on this blog, the e-book aims to help traditionally trained journalists, marketers, and content creators understand the ideas and values that differentiate new media from old. It doesn’t try to be the definitive word on the subject, or to offer step-by-step guidance in using new-media tools.
The Best Formats Are Invisible
NOVEMBER 18, 2011
MUD day 18: It’s a new dawn and I’ve awakened with my usual optimism and generosity of spirit restored. Today I see things a bit differently. Magazines aren’t dying , they’re simply transmigrating. You see, the soul of a magazine is not to be found in its format. LIke every other kind of communication, a magazine is expression, transported in a vehicle. If you pay undue attention to the vehicle, the format, you’ll miss the important thing being expressed. When new-media thinkers talk about transparency, they’re usually thinking about ethics.
My Love for Magazines Lies Bleeding
NOVEMBER 17, 2011
MUD day 17: There are days, perhaps when my inner curmudgeon breaks through my usual resistance, when I’m convinced that magazines, as a useful format, are truly dead. Yes, it may just be me or my desperation for a topic in this month of mandatory daily blogging. Ask me tomorrow and I may feel more hopeful. But what has me worried is my oddly sour reaction to this Folio article on magazine design. A few years ago I would have been vitally interested. Now it just seems irrelevant. It’s not just the paper version of magazines I’m pessimistic about, but the very concept.
Wikipedia Is No Authority–By Design
NOVEMBER 13, 2011
MUD day 13: In an interview in Foreign Policy , published on its website earlier this month, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was asked if he’s shocked to hear that people, including journalists, “use Wikipedia all the time.” ” His response is worth repeating to any journalist that either uses Wikipedia unthinkingly or unthinkingly refuses to use Wikipedia: Journalists all use Wikipedia. The bad journalist gets in trouble because they use it incorrectly; the good journalist knows it’s a place to get oriented and to find out what questions to ask.
Attribution and Linking Are Essential to Transparency
NOVEMBER 4, 2011
MUD day 4: If you’re a B2B journalist or a journalistically inclined content marketer, you should be faithfully following Steve Buttry’s blog. Although he’s a died-in-the-wool newspaper guy, he deals frequently and insightfully with issues that also plague trade editors and reporters. good example is from Buttry’s post on Monday, in which he offers advice on attribution. It’s an age-old issue for trade journalists that has only intensified in the online era. The first is the thorny issue of press releases. They should do better. Journalists as Buzzword Killers.
Schadenfreude Is Cheap: Don’t Worry About the Journalists of the Future
NOVEMBER 3, 2011
MUD day 3: I recently joined the LinkedIn for Journalists group, which turns out to be more useful and interesting than I had expected. post from a couple of weeks ago pointed to an entry in Roger Ebert’s Journal headlined “Help! Our journalists of the future.” ” The entry consisted almost entirely of extracts from bad student writing, provided by a friend who teaches a university journalism course. Having taught college English for several years, I know that in every batch of papers, you can find both brilliant and abysmal bits of writing.
Want to Twitter Better? Diversify Your Pronouns
NOVEMBER 15, 2011
One of my favorite Joe Pulizzi sayings is “ it’s not about you.” ” For the most part, he’s talking to marketers, trying to get them to focus on the information their customers need rather than what the marketers most want to talk about: themselves. Journalists generally don’t see this as their own problem. After all, their role is to point towards other people.
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Transparent vs. Opaque: Six New-Media Principles, No. 5
NOVEMBER 27, 2011
Because one of its foundational ideas is openness, as I described in yesterday’s post , new media encourages and rewards transparency. Traditional media organizations have tended to be opaque, aiming not to reveal much about the people and processes behind their product. But the nature of new media is to reveal everything, to make everything public. If the organizations don’t reveal their own inner workings, the increasing likelihood is that someone else will. ” One of the more recent considerations of the phrase came from Mathew Ingram last month. New Ethics for New Media?
Open vs. Closed: Six New-Media Principles, No. 4
NOVEMBER 26, 2011
One of the key distinctions in the digital world is between closed systems and open ones. One example of a closed system, from the early days of the online experience, would be the original America Online or Prodigy of the 1990s. These “walled garden” systems restricted who could participate, and relied on custom-built, proprietary systems that could be difficult to use and impossible to adapt. The internet, by contrast, is an open system, built on published standards and accommodating a wide range of modifications. Proprietary software programs, like Microsoft Windows, are closed.
Personal vs. Corporate: Six New-Media Principles, No. 3
NOVEMBER 25, 2011
In last Wednesday’s post, I described how new media make the reader an equal partner in journalism, able to talk back to, as well as compete with, the journalist. The same dynamic similarly changes the journalist’s relation to his or her employer. Journalists no longer need a traditional publisher in order to talk with readers. Formerly, most journalists were, to readers, little more than a name on a page. But in the social media world, they have an increasingly personal and direct connection to their readers. It’s a shift from the logo to the face.”.
More on Destination, Identity, and the Future of Content
NOVEMBER 16, 2011
Thanks no doubt to a helpful boost from Alexis Madrigal , my November 8 post, “ The Future of Content Is Not Destination but Identity ,” found a passel of new readers this week. One of them was constructively skeptical of my argument. What does it really mean, he asked , to say the future of content is in its identity? Or that content must be imbued with the brand? However people find content, he argued, they “always wind up back at the brand to read it.” It’s possible, of course, that I overstated my case considerably, which one is wont to do when blogging.
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Defeating the Blank Page: S. J. Perelman on the Chandler Method
NOVEMBER 12, 2011
MUD day 12: On a day when I have little time and less inspiration, I will let the sadly neglected S. J. Perelman ride to my rescue. In a late-1950s Paris Review interview, he was asked what he did to overcome the blank page and start writing an essay. His answer involved yet another approach from Raymond Chandler, previously cited this month as a model by one of my illustrious commenters : Interviewer : Are there any devices you use to get yourself going on [your essays]? Perelman: No, I don’t think so. Just anguish. Very laborious. He strongly advised me to do the same. Perelman
Three Ways to Turbocharge Your New-Media Career
NOVEMBER 9, 2011
MUD day 9: For anyone involved in communications, coming to accept new media is only half the battle. The next, much harder fight, is in leaping into and mastering the ways of new media. There are probably an infinite number of effective approaches to doing so, but, based on my recent reading and on my experience this month as a blogger, I’d start with these three: 1. Be Gutsy. Robinson is pointing out here something that isn’t often emphasized: It takes courage to adopt new-media tools. You might just be wasting your time, or worse, risking your job. 2. Be Weird. Be Arbitrary.
Embrace Your Errors
NOVEMBER 5, 2011
MUD day 5: When I embarked on this month of daily, rapidly written blog posts, I knew my tolerance for typos and other errors would be sorely tested. And indeed, yesterday I committed one of the homophonically confused errors I’ve made since the beginning of my publishing career, writing “died-in-the-wool” rather than “dyed.” ” Once I might have been upset by the discovery of my mistake, but my recent reading has persuaded me that a few errors now and then, once recognized, can be good for both readers and writers. Jarvis. Monetize Your Typos.
A Month of “Um” Days
NOVEMBER 1, 2011
As writers go, I am slow and deliberate. Though I don’t often find it, I can spend hours looking for le mot juste. It’s not the ideal approach for a blogger, needless to say. So this month, as I hoard my psychic energies for a major writing and editing project (more about that later), I’ve had to make what is, for me, a difficult decision about this blog. No, this is not a farewell to blogging, or even an announcement of a hiatus. Rather, it’s an explanation and an apology for what’s about to happen here for the next month. It won’t be pretty.
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7 ideas to turn PowerPoint slides into social media marketing gold
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NOVEMBER 14, 2011
Although PowerPoint has been around for years, it is still the king of presentation software tools. It is an absolutely critical arrow in my business marketing quiver … and for some reasons that might surprise you! Here are seven ideas to use PowerPoint slides to create new value for your social media marketing efforts: 1. Populate Slideshare. Do it. 2. Spice up a blog post. Make an eBook.