Jeremiah’s Instant Meme – J-list Trumps the Z-list for Speed

Memes are great, messy, chaotic fun. They lead you to places, websites and even videos that you would NEVER discover in a million hours of web surfing. But they do take a little time. Well, they do when I participate in a meme … I start by reading through the list of participants and discovering something about their blog. If there is a post that catches my attention, I will leave a comment or two. Occasionally, I find a blog that fascinates me, and I will spend ages clicking through, burning my elbow to new levels of RSI, caught in the excitement of new discovery. Then, after a discovery phase, I will come back to my own blog, find a picture on Flickr and write a post that introduces the meme. I normally thank the tagger who prompted me to participate, and then hit publish. Over the next few days or even weeks, I notice some links trickling in. A few comments saying "thanks for linking" will filter through … and then quiet. Back to normal. Earlier today, I was commenting on this post by David Armano. He was talking about the way that Twitter seems to be exploding, and I was wondering whether this was the case — or whether Twitter was just facilitating a whole range of cross-connections among and across specialist communities that had not yet been realized by blogging. Then, almost in answer, Jeremiah Owyang single-handedly kick-started an avalanche of Twitter connections. In a matter of hours, Jeremiah had amassed over 300 comments and simultaneously shared his network of Twitter followers. Where the Z-list took weeks (and even months) to spread across the Internet, the J-list took only a matter of hours. In the time since then, I have followed and been followed by many new folks — some that I have heard of, some that are new, and some others that remain mysterious. But speed is not everything. In fact, just as it can hasten adoption of a new product, it can also rapidly cause its decline. Will a multiplicity of new ties strengthen the Twitter network or will it accelerate its decline? My first thought was yes, this could be a problem … but, now, remembering the strength that comes from WEAK ties, it could be the opposite. Hmmm. Would love your thoughts.

Update: Jeremiah reflects on a day’s work completed in a moment; Stephen Collins talk tsunamis

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Got a Good Idea? Come Share It With Us

I tried it, I liked it
Originally uploaded by Rob Barker

When the Sydney chapter of Planning for Good all came together to discuss a brief for UNICEF, we found ourselves sitting on milk crates in the streets of Darlinghurst. We were interrupted by planes and by passing trucks, but there must have been something to it, for one of our ideas (ok, it was Katie’s) was selected by the client.

So, tomorrow, we are meeting again, this time in more comfortable surroundings (at the Cricketers Arms in Surry Hills around 6:30pm). The brief is for Live Earth (get it here).


Oh, and don’t forget to join our Facebook group too!

A Woman at the Top

We approach a momentous time in the history of the Australian nation. The recent election swept the Labor party into office, and with it came a new Prime Minister in the shape of Kevin Rudd and a new Deputy Prime Minister in the form of Julia Gillard (wonder twin powers?).

Now, despite the similarities of policy, the differences between the parties will largely be in the form of action and deed. This is where the Australian people will feel the difference between the two sides of politics — where policy meets people. And today is a great example.

From around midday, for the first time in since federation, Australia will have a woman leading the country. Julia Gillard will take over from Kevin Rudd as Acting Prime Minister while Kev07 starts working on the global Kev08 agenda (in Bali to talk Kyoto Protocol).

Now that is what I call a climate change. Let’s hope it is the first of many!

The Common Craft of Blogs

For those of us who are involved in blogging, it can seem strange to be asked "what is a blog". But it happens almost everyday.

You see, despite the massive adoption of blogs as a tool for personal, professional or community content publishing (Technorati tracks >70 million blogs), blogging is still a rather marginal activity. A good way to gauge whether some technology has been "mainstreamed" is to do the "Five Step Grannie Test". I have used this to great effect in the past, and it requires the following steps:

  1. Write down the topic that you want to research in a notepad. Try to keep it to a single sentence and write it in the form of a question (for example, "what is a blog")
  2. Pick up the phone and call your grandmother (this research method works just as well with someone else’s grandmother)
  3. Read the question/topic out from your notepad
  4. Write the answer into your notepad in CAPITAL letters
  5. Evaluate the response. If the answer is YES, then your brand/technology/services/product has been mainstreamed. All other answers count as a NO (especially the response, "what is a what"?)

So, if you are like me, and you are asked "what is a blog", now, rather than spending a couple of hours talking through the technology, options etc, you can send all your grannies to this video thoughtfully put together by Lee Lefever from Common Craft. How do you get to it? You just jump on the Internet (hint: you can even get it on computers now).

Vote for Mr Splashy Pants

Spalshypants200 We all debate whether you can intentionally create something that "goes viral". Drew was asking the same question earlier.

My view, for what it is worth, is that we can (and probably should) design our marketing to be virally-enabled. That is, we should make it easy for others to pick up our idea and make it their own — via links, embedding options, voting/ranking and send-to-friend options etc. BUT it is important to remember that "viral" is not about the brand … it is actually about the users — about me and you. If I forward a "viral" piece I will do so, because it says something to you about ME. It provides me with SOCIAL CURRENCY.

So, in this instance, when I ask you all to Vote for Mr Splashy Pants, this is what is happening:

  • I am linking to Nat who brought it to my attention. This means that I hope that she checks her Technorati profile and sees that I am linking to her. Then she can respond and engage in conversation (hi Nat!)
  • I am hoping that you good folks are going to click through to check Nat’s story because it is much better than mine
  • I am also using Nat’s cute pic which has a nice call to action … reminding you, dear reader, to help promote Greenpeace’s efforts to save the whales (and if you "right mouse click" on the picture, you can save it and republish it on your blog — nice one, thanks!).
  • Hopefully you love the silliness of the name of the whale and want to promote this to the world in an effort to fight the barbarity of whale slaughter with the power of cuteness while adding to your karma credits (remember, when you write this on your blog you will also receive additional karma credit transfers from others to you — after all, you are encouraging the good in all of us)
  • As this effort accelerates, your sense of belonging improves, and provides you with a story to tell other (I was there, talking about Mr Splashy Pants, when he was only a baby beluga).

Most importantly in this process, the "value" of social currency cannot be dictated (by a brand or organisation). This is more organic. And sure you can plan for it, design for it and even hope for it, but I think "viral" is like comedy — all in the timing.

And speaking of timing … you can only vote until DECEMBER 7, 2007 (at 17:00 Amsterdam time). Oh, see that — three calls to action in the one post. Lovely.

UPDATE: Mr T pities the fool who doesn’t vote for Mr Splashy Pants. Got to love T.

Why the Cluetrain Still Rings True

howard barker
Originally uploaded by christheobscure

I remember first reading the Cluetrain Manifesto. I remember drinking in the 95 Theses and feeling like my senses were tingling. They were tingling, yes, but it did not seem to be a surprise.

What the collaborators were talking about — participation and activism — was something I had been studying for years. It was just that I was studying Theatre, not Marketing, not Technology. You see, I had just written a thesis on the brilliant English playwright, Howard Barker, and one of his most powerful pieces of critical writing was called "49 Asides for a Tragic Theatre". In this statement, written when Thatcherite Britain was at its zenith, Barker called for challenging and provocative theatre — a theatre of participation.

Ideology is the outcome of pain.
Some people want to know pain. There is no truth on the cheap.
There are more people in pursuit of knowledge than the accountants will admit.
There is always the possibility of an avalanche of truth-seekers.

Many years on from the publishing of the Cluetrain, we are still living in an age where the promise of a revolutionary form of conversation still has power. It has power because, despite its popularity, the ideas contained within the Cluetrain are hard to manifest. Consequently, the Cluetrain remains a marginalised tract.

I was reminded of this recently when I presented at InterestingSouth. I had interspliced text from the Cluetrain with images taken by my four year old daughters. And, to me, the words seemed to float out across the audience who were hearing this, perhaps, for the first time. It made me tremble. It made me focus more precisely on the words. This three minutes seemed much more important. Urgent.

What I like about the Cluetrain is its immediacy. It restores you to yourself — an individual experiencing the tragedy and beauty of everyday living. As Barker would say:

It dares to be beautiful. Who talks of beauty any more? They think it is to do with the costumes.

And it is because of this immediacy. Because of its daring. And because it continues to question the structures of power and influence, the Cluetrain will continue to maintain its relevance. At least for some. Again, from Barker:

People will endure anything for a grain of truth.

Qualifying the Social Media Tyre Kickers / Brain Leechers

kick starting the weekend
Originally uploaded by Okaypro

Laurel Papworth has a great post expressing frustration at how easy it is for larger corporations to take advantage of the IP and thinking of social media consultants. Sure enough, over a coffee, a meeting or (if you are lucky) a nice dinner, a passionate social media evangelist will give away the steps/secrets of community building and online brand activation … but then, when it comes time to hand out the contracts, sign the papers and spend not-immoderate amounts of money, where is the consultant? Where?

If this sounds like you, here are some "qualifying" questions that you should ask BEFORE making an appointment with the tyre kickers:

  • Do you currently have someone responsible for social media strategy
  • What sort of visibility does this have in your organisation?
  • Is there an agency retained to build this out for you?
  • How would you see me working with them/you?
  • What is the budget you are working to?
  • When will you be making a decision to proceed?

Once you have answers to all these questions, you should have a clear idea whether there really is anything in it for you.

Anyone have other tips?

Recognizing Outstanding Bloggers

I love the smell of the end of the year. There is a mixture of tension, as we all begin to focus on the final weeks of the year in an attempt to reach our targets, deliver our projects or finalize the last elements of our budgets. But there is also the beginning of relief and play … last year, about this time, Mack Collier kicked off the Z-list. This year it is Troy Worman’s turn, with the Outstanding Blogger meme.

This one is already exciting, with well over 200 blogs, many completely new to me, promising an avalanche of holiday reading. My additions to the massive list (already included) are Innovation Feeder, The Kaiser Edition, Get Shouty, Tim Longhurst and Dipping into the Blogpond.


UPDATE: Troy has an updated list here.

  1. 100 Bloggers
  2. 37 Days
  3. 3i
  4. 43 Folders
  5. A Clear Eye
  6. A Daily Dose of Architecture
  7. The Agonist
  8. All Things Workplace
  9. All This Chittah Chattah
  10. Angela Maiers
  11. Antonella Pavese
  12. Arizona High Tech
  13. A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye
  14. Badger Blogger
  15. Bailey WorkPlay
  16. Being Peter Kim
  17. Brett Trout
  18. Best of Mother Earth
  19. Beyond Madison Avenue
  20. Biz and Buzz
  21. Bizhack
  22. BizSolutions Plus
  23. Blog Business World
  24. Bloggers Showroom
  25. Blogging for Business
  26. Blogher
  27. Blog Till You Drop!
  28. Bob Sutton
  29. Brain Based Business
  30. Brains on Fire
  31. Brand Autopsy
  32. The Brand Builder Blog
  33. Branding and Marketing
  34. Branding Strategy
  35. Brand is Language
  36. BrandSizzle
  37. Brandsoul
  38. Bren Blog
  39. Business Evolutionist
  40. Business Management Life
  41. Business Pundit
  42. Business Services, Etc.
  43. Busy Mom
  44. Buzz Canuck
  45. Buzz Customer
  46. Buzzoodle
  47. Career Intensity
  48. Carpe Factum
  49. Casual Fridays
  50. Change Your Thoughts
  51. Chaos Scenario
  52. Cheezhead
  53. Chief Happiness Officer
  54. Chris Brogan
  55. Christine Kane
  56. Church of the Customer
  57. Circaspecting
  58. CK’s Blog
  59. Come Gather Round
  60. Community Guy
  61. Confident Writing
  62. Conversation Agent
  63. Converstations
  64. Cooking for Engineers
  65. Cool Hunting
  66. Core77
  67. Corporate Presenter
  68. Crayon Writer
  69. Creating a Better Life
  70. Creating Passionate Users
  71. Creative Think
  72. CRM Mastery
  73. Crossroads Dispatches
  74. Cube Rules
  75. Culture Kitchen
  76. Customers Are Always
  77. Customer Service Experience
  78. Customer Service Reader
  79. Customers Rock!
  80. Custserv
  81. Craig Harper
  82. Daily Fix
  83. Dawud Miracle
  84. Dave Olson
  85. David Airey
  86. David Maister
  87. David S Finch
  88. Design Your Writing Life
  89. Digital Common Sense
  90. Director Tom
  91. Dipping into the Blogpond
  92. Diva Marketing
  93. Do You Q
  94. Duct Tape Marketing
  95. Empowerment 4 Life
  96. The Engaging Brand
  97. Essential Keystrokes
  98. Every Dot Connects
  99. Experience Architect
  100. Experience Curve
  101. Experience Matters
  102. Extreme Leadership
  103. Eyes on Living
  104. Feld Thoughts
  105. Flooring the Customer
  106. Fouroboros
  107. FutureLab
  108. Genuine Curiosity
  109. Get Shouty
  110. Glass Half Full
  111. The Good Life
  112. Great Circle
  113. Greg Verdino’s Marketing Blog
  114. Hee-Haw Marketing
  115. Hello, My Name is BLOG
  116. Holly’s Corner
  117. Homeless Family
  118. The Idea Dude
  119. I’d Rather be Blogging
  120. Influential Marketing
  121. Innovating to Win
  122. Innovation Feeder
  123. Inspiring & Empowering Lives
  124. Instigator Blog
  125. Jaffe Juice
  126. Jibber Jobber
  127. Joyful Jubilant Learning
  128. Joy of Six
  129. The Kaiser Edition
  130. Kent Blumberg
  131. Kevin Eikenberry
  132. Learned on Women
  133. Life Beyond Code
  134. Lip-sticking
  135. Listics
  136. The Lives and Times
  137. Live Your Best Life
  138. Live Your Inspiration
  139. Living Light Bulbs
  140. Logical Emotions
  141. Logic + Emotion
  142. Make It Great!
  143. Making Life Work for You
  144. Management Craft
  145. Managing with Aloha
  146. The M.A.P. Maker
  147. The Marketing Excellence Blog
  148. Marketing Headhunter
  149. Marketing Hipster
  150. The Marketing Minute
  151. Marketing Nirvana
  152. Marketing Roadmaps
  153. Marketing Through the Clutter
  154. Mary Schmidt
  155. Masey
  156. The Media Age
  157. Micropersuasion
  158. Middle Zone Musings
  159. Miss604
  160. Moment on Money
  161. Monk at Work
  162. Monkey Bites
  163. Movie Marketing Madness
  164. Motivation on the Run
  165. My 2 Cents
  166. My Beautiful Chaos
  167. Naked Conversations
  168. Neat & Simple Living
  169. New Age 2020
  170. New Charm School
  171. Next Up
  172. No Man’s Blog
  173. The [Non] Billable Hour
  174. Note to CMO
  175. Office Politics
  176. Optimist Lab
  177. The Origin of Brands
  178. Own Your Brand
  179. Pardon My French
  180. Passion Meets Purpose
  181. Pause
  182. Peerless Professionals
  183. Perfectly Petersen
  184. Personal Branding
  185. The Podcast Network
  186. The Power of Choice
  187. Practical Leadership
  188. Presentation Zen
  189. Priscilla Palmer
  190. Productivity Goal
  191. Pro Hip-Hop
  192. Prosperity for You
  193. Purple Wren
  194. QAQnA
  195. Qlog
  196. Reveries
  197. Rex Blog
  198. Ririan Project
  199. Rohdesign
  200. Rothacker Reviews
  201. Scott H Young
  202. Search Engine Guide
  203. Servant of Chaos
  204. Service Untitled
  205. Seth’s Blog
  206. Shards of Consciousness
  207. Shotgun Marketing
  208. Simplenomics
  209. Simplicity
  210. Slacker Manager
  211. Slow Leadership
  212. Socially Adept
  213. Social Media Marketing Blog
  214. Spare Change
  215. Spirit in Gear
  216. Spooky Action
  217. Steve’s 2 Cents
  218. Strategic Design
  219. Strength-based Leadership
  220. StickyFigure
  221. Studentlinc
  222. Success Begins Today
  223. Success Creeations
  224. Success From the Nest
  225. Successful Blog
  226. Success Jolt
  227. Talk to Strangers
  228. Tammy Lenski
  229. Tell Ten Friends
  230. That Girl from Marketing
  231. Think Positive!
  232. This Girl’s Weblog
  233. Thoughts & Philosophies
  234. Tim Longhurst
  235. Tom Peters
  236. Trust Matters
  237. Verve Coaching
  238. Viral Garden
  239. Waiter Bell
  240. Wealth Building Guy
  241. What’s Next
  242. Writers Notes
  243. You Already Know this Stuff
  244. Zen Chill

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RIP Evel Knievel

When you are a child the whole world seems larger than life. The shops you go to are huge, the cars you drive in are enormous and the schools playgrounds seem to go on forever. Coming back to visit these places as an adult they appear to have shrunken … the spaces are smaller, claustrophobic even.

Public figures are different — well, those who capture and hold our imaginations are. Evel Knievel was, for me, one person who retained a larger than life imaginary space as I grew up. Perhaps it was to do with his ground breaking efforts and stunts, or the link he somehow made in my mind with Fonzie’s motorcycle stunt in Big Al’s carpark, or even the Evel Knievel stunt bike toy that I loved until it fell to pieces. But it is more likely that, in Evel Knievel, we all saw the potential to become an everyday hero … a real person capable of achieving close to the miraculous. May he rest in peace.