Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

One of the most amazing things about social media, and blogging in particular, is the chance we have to create personal connections and very real friendships with people all over the world.

Sometimes this means you connect with people who live in your own city and sometimes it means you connect with people who are on the other side of the planet. 

And given our busy lives, this often means that our “real life” interactions happen once per year or once every couple of years. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a friend’s thoughts or writings weigh less on our minds because they are geographically close – the blogosphere, in this respect at least, has been a great leveller.

This week’s must read posts come from folks who I greatly respect, but rarely see. But they nevertheless hold a important place in my heart.

  1. Kris Hoet suggests that we should think more deeply about retail and its relationship to online transactions. Take a look at this cool infographic and you may well be surprised to see just how successful certain categories are online. What are people really buying online may well be the best proof of concept we have ever seen – with spam outperforming display, banner and social advertising. Now, let me get back to my listservers!
  2. Amber Naslund recommends that social media objectives must be chosen in accordance with overall business objectives. As Amber explains, problems aren’t always bad things – in social media they can be hugely beneficial in terms of focusing your social media efforts. Be sure to read the whole post to learn more about needs, goals and measurement.
  3. This post from Annik Skelton just sneaks in – on sheer chutzpah alone. Seven  signs that you are getting older shows just how the fog of youth can transform itself into unwelcome personal insight. Of course my personal favourite is #7 When someone offers you free drugs, you say no because you have work in the morning.  Go ahead and read the full post and see why this is just a heartbreaking turning point.
  4. Stan Johnson talks about how things come and go – with his post Bye, Bye Blockbuster. To some fifteen years seems like a lifetime, while to others it seems like a recent memory. But in the stream of life it is perhaps a blip. I wonder how many of us will be asking the same question of our current preoccupations sometime in 2025.
  5. Oscar Nicholson shares his great insight into the evolution of storytelling – over at Jye Smith’s blog. Read the post, stay for the videos.

Content Marketing and the Junta 42

Groff "in the hole"Back in 2008, Joe Pulizzi started looking in-depth at blogs that focused on content marketing. He found 81 blogs – and the Junta 42 were the viewed as the leaders in what was then an emerging field.

Two years on and the field has exploded, with almost 400 blogs being tracked as part of the Junta 42 list. This growth mirrors not only the interest in content marketing and social media, but the general explosion in blogging as a method of communication.

Each of the blogs in the Junta42 are ranked based on a number of factors, explained as follows:

    1. The number of posts in last quarter that pertained to a content marketing topic. Those posting on 3 or more days per week received the highest number of points.
    2. Substantiveness of Posts. Here we worked to weed out posts that fell short of adding value to the collective body of knowledge about content marketing. For example, blogs that simply linked to other blogs or articles without adding new information, perspectives or ideas to the commentary received lower scores than did blogs that consistently delivered unique ideas, thoughtful insights, deep coverage, rich media and the like – you know, high-value content – to the community.
    3. Google PageRank. (All blogs were checked on the same day.)
    4. Previous Ranking.

The latest version of the Junta 42 provides a handy reference to some of the leading content marketing blogs – a very useful resource for those marketers working with social media as part of their strategy. The August 2010 top 42 content marketing blogs are:

1 Brian Solis
2 Copyblogger
3 Conversation Agent
4 TopRank Blog
5 PR 20/20
6 Marketing Experiments
7 Convince and Convert
8 Spin Sucks
9 Marketing Interactions
10 ConverStations
11 Simple Marketing Blog
12 Influential Marketing Blog
13 Direct Marketing Observations
14 Post Advertising
15 Web Ink Now
16 Social Media Explorer
17 Writing on the Web
18 Inbound Internet Marketing Blog
19 Rexblog
20 eMedia Vitals
21 Vertical Leap
22 Conversation Marketing
24 Mack Collier
25 Buzz News
26 FASTforward Blog
27 IdeaLaunch
28 Site Booster
29 Freelance Copywriters Blog
30 Social Media Examiner
31 Priority Integrated Marketing Blog
32 Branding & Marketing
33 Shopper Culture
34 Vertical Measures
35 Proactive
36 Web Marketing Therapy
37 ContentMarketingToday
38 Servant of Chaos
39 Ducttape Marketing
40 TippingPoint Labs
41 Sparksheet
42 The MineThat Data Blog

OMO Knows Where You Live – in Brazil

We have been talking about the “smart home” for over a decade – where all your home appliances become devices, transmitting and connecting to each other to create a kind of home intelligence. For example, refrigerators could determine when your supplies are low and automatically place online orders for food and drink.

But what if the products that you buy were “connected” in this way? What if the manufacturers could track you back to your home, transmitting their locations via a hidden GPS?

This is being trialled for an OMO promotion in Brazil. According to Shun Ma, this OMO detergent promotion includes a GPS in a select number of boxes of washing powder. There are 35 teams across the country ready to swoop on your home, tracking down your “beeping box” of washing powder to offer you a prize. But there’s a catch. There will be cameras, photos and reportage. Your location will appear on the Experimento Algo Novo website – so like never before the phrase “we know where you live” could be both a promise and a threat.

And as location based services become more prevalent – and as platforms like Facebook bring geo-location data into your social graph – we will see more debate around the what it means to be "private".

While knowing "where your customers are" appears, on the surface, to be a kind of demographic nirvana, most businesses already have a great deal of customer data that is going unused. For many of us, just building a great product or creating a memorable experience/interaction is difficult enough – I wonder whether this is another layer that pushes an authentic experience further into mediation. In an age of transparency, the enforced intimacy of personal location may well be a step too far – or it could create a whole new mode of connection.

Early experiments with technologies like this always raise questions. It’s a risk – and it can backfire, or prove a huge success. But the last thing anyone wants is to see an OMO moment turn into an OMG moment.

Green Envy – Vibewire Election Coverage Hits Ten News

During last weekend’s election, Vibewire, the not-for-profit youth media organisation, sent their electionWIRE teams out to polling booths to capture the mood of voters at the sharp end of the election campaign. While visiting the seat of Bennelong – the seat where Maxine McKew was ousted by John Alexander – Austin Mackell found Liberal campaigners dressed at the “green army” handing out how to vote cards which preferenced the Liberals rather than Labor as was the Greens’ stated policy.

This story was picked up as part of the Channel Ten news coverage and was also featured on ABC's The Drum.


In the clip from Channel Ten, Austin is interviewed at the Vibewire Enterprise Hub. He explain his surprise at the polling booth activities described by an AEC official as “dirty but legal”.

It is great to see the mainstream media picking up on some of the great stories unearthed by the electionWIRE teams. Be sure to checkout the electionWIRE channel for the type of coverage you just don’t get to see anywhere else. I have a feeling that this won’t be the last time you see these young journalists on your screens.

Oh, and if you are looking to add your voice to the media mix, be sure to get in contact with the Vibewire team.

Can Journalists Look at Possibilities Not Problems?

I know it is late notice, but this great event from the Emerging Leaders for Social Change is running tonight at Fairfax Media in Sydney’s Pyrmont. It features three great speakers – and will be asking the question “can journalists look at possibilities, not problems?”:

  • JAKE LYNCH – Associate Professor Jake Lynch, PhD (City University, London) is Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney, an Executive Member of the Sydney Peace Foundation and newly elected Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association. He’s spent the past 13 years researching, developing, teaching and training in peace journalism – and practising it, as an experienced international reporter in television and newspapers.
  • BRONWEN CLUNE is a well-known media commentator and writer on the future of media and journalism. She was originally a print journalist at The West Australian, but founded her own citizen-journalism site in 2006, one of the earliest Australian experiments in online news. The site won a number of awards including international recognition through a Webby honouree for innovation in journalism. She is now a consultant to web start-ups & media on developing business models for online. She is also on the Board of the
    Public Interest Journalism Foundation.
  • NICK FAIRFAX is the Managing Director of Marinya Media Pty Ltd, which is the largest shareholder in Fairfax Media Ltd which is Australia’s largest listed media company with newspaper, magazine, internet sites and radio stations in Australia, NZ and the US. Under Nick’s direction Marinya has made recent
    investments in the K-12 Education sector and is now the largest performing arts educator in the country. Nick is also a director of Vincent Fairfax Family
    Foundation, Tickets Holdings Pty Ltd, is Chairman of Elaine Education Pty Ltd and is a member of the UTS Faculty of Business Executive Council.

It promises to be a great event, but numbers are limited to 60.

Date: Wednesday 25 August 2010
Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Place: Fairfax Media Ltd, Ground Floor, 1 Darling Island Road, Pyrmont NSW 2009
RSVP: info.elsc [at]

Five Tips to Maintain Social Media Momentum

uniqlo-utweet One of the challenges with social media is that it’s easy to start and it’s easy to stop.

Even the biggest, most resourced brands fall into the trap of running a successful social media campaign – and then nothing.

It stops.

The fan pages go quiet, the blogs stop, the Twitter channels fall into a deafening silence and YouTube dries up.

It’s difficult to maintain momentum.

Or is it?

Here are my five tips to help you maintain your social media momentum:

  1. Mash the trend – use social channels to create content around your brand. Combine social trends, keywords and other content that you have created (say from TVCs) in a unique way
  2. Share the message – don’t try to “control” your brand message or you’ll just end up in trouble. But you can control some of the mechanisms to do with online brand participation. Remember that knowing who drives knowing how – and some social networks outperform others
  3. Calendaring – look at your business plan and map out the announcements, the changes and the opportunities over the coming year. Think about how this can be supported with blog posts, YouTube clips, interviews etc, and then put these into an editorial calendar
  4. Design for participation – don’t look at entertaining people with your clever creativity. Design your social media in a way that encourages participation rather than passive consumption. Rather than just asking a question, post a Twtpoll; rather than asking for feedback, try uservoice to allow people to provide feedback and then VOTE on the answers they like best
  5. Guest post your CEO – you are going to need support, so why not get it from the top. Reach out to your CEO and offer to write up a profile on their recent achievements. Better yet, help them write a guest post for your blog or a video for your YouTube channel. Remember, social media is also about tapping your community for contributions

So, can this really be done? Take a look at this fantastic “movie” from Uniqlo that combines Twitter with video to create your very own customised video/TVC. They employ several of these tips in a way that puts their brand at the centre of a very personal experience. Try it out yourself … oh, and then think about how you could do something similar for your brand.

Have We Taken ‘Participation’ Too Far?

I came across this interesting letter on Katie Chatfield’s blog. It purports to be an open letter from “Brian” to the marketing industry. But whether it actually IS from a real person or not, the sentiment certainly resonates with people.

Now, because I hope/expect/want people to participate in the programs or marketing that I put together, I try to participate where I can. I contribute content and content, I comment and retweet and share. Sometimes I even do a mashup. But I do that out of a sense of reciprocity – not necessarily out of a sense of fun. Unless, of course, someone else puts the fun “in” – a good example being the @oldspice campaign. But I am predisposed towards participation – many people are not. And as “Brian” suggests, sometimes a social activation for your brand is either not relevant or (at worst) lame, but the same can be said of microsites lovingly built for the dozen or so people who actually visit.


So, the question we should ask ourselves is – have we taken participation too far? Is “Brian” right? Or are we just not trying hard enough?

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

ArielleOne of the things I like most about this weekly recap is having the chance (and the reason) to go back and think through what really impacted me during the previous week.

It is easy to get carried away with a link or a cool new Facebook feature – but a few days on, it all fades into the general white haze of online conversation.

And interestingly, sometimes it is a second and third read of a particular post that really makes it stand out. Here are five I think you should check out from last week. You’ll be glad that you did!

  1. Polly Becker shares a great presentation by Jonah Peretti – Mormons, Mullets and Mainiacs. Jonah is the founder of BuzzFeed – so intimately understands the way in which viral-ready content spreads. One of the key features of this content is that it draws upon the power of the “Bored at Work Network” – all those folks who sit at computer screens at work and seek out web based distraction/entertainment. Interesting approach.
  2. When I tweeted a link to eConsultancy’s 25 Brilliant Examples of Facebook Pages last week it got plenty of retweets, so it clearly struck a chord. There’s a great variety of pages here that shows just how much you CAN do with the Facebook Markup Language (FBML).
  3. Brian Solis, as usual, packs a punch with a great post on Influencing the Influencer. He explains some of the shifts in our understanding of “influence” brought about by social media, and suggests that a new trend is emerging – “one that fuses recognition, reward, reach, and disclosure”. Great stuff.
  4. Stan Johnson laments the quality of billboard advertising in his home town. It’s not the fault of the creatives, he claims, but it is creative Death by Committee.
  5. In the light of the past weekend’s election here in Australia, it seems only fitting that we also look at Paul McEnany’s great post on Edward Bernays, Context and Choice Blindness, suggesting that while we often focus on getting the right “message” in place, it seems that it’s more important to create the right “context” in which that message can resonate.

#electionWIRE Hits Canberra on Polling Day

Today Australians cast their vote in the federal election. Vibewire, an innovative non-profit youth organisation providing media, arts & entrepreneurial opportunities and events for young people have been covering the election via teams of young journalists spread across the country.

Here, Margaret Paul interviews ABC Political reporter Stephen Dziedzic to get the lowdown on what’s happening in the nation’s capital, Canberra. Later tonight, Margaret will also be filing reports from the Tally Room. And in an election that is expected to come down to the wire, it could well be the youth vote that makes all the difference.