The Ryder Cup of Word of Mouth, Buzz and Viral

see the flag back there??  (left)The Ryder Cup is a fascinating contest. Based on prestige rather than prize money, it pits the best golfers in the USA against the best from other parts of the world. And while there was a time some years ago when I could not see the value in "hitting a ball and walking after it", I have now developed a much greater appreciation and interest in golf — both as a player and an observer. Interestingly, there are quite a few parallels between golf and social media:

  • Participation — from the outside looking in, golf can appear boring. When you start to participate you realise there is much more to it than meets the eye.
  • Frustration — like golf, not everything you "try" in social media works. Often your best efforts will still end up "in the pond".
  • Competition — while it is easy to get caught up in all different rankings and measurements, like social media, you only ever play golf against yourself. The quality of your work comes down to the nuance, effort and creativity you inject into it — and the results follow accordingly.

In the spirit of the Ryder Cup, Sean Moffitt has compiled a list of what he considers to be the top 36 US blogs on word of mouth, viral, buzz, influence and the engaging brand. Against this he lists 36 international blogs. I am particularly pleased to be listed after reading Sean’s reasoning:

Unlike some of the social media- and tech dedicated marketing and media bloggers, these broad-minded bloggers and company heads (below) have distinguished themselves by helping visitors understand how ideas spread, online and offline, through a range of different strategies and tactics and each recognizes the importance of having brands getting noticed, talked about and advocated in a 2.0 world.

In my opinion, they are much closer to explaining the purpose and benefits of a range of new media, web 2.0, co-creation, social networks and other web, cultural and social phenomenon.

And in the best interest of co-creation, Sean has left a number of open slots on each team. So tell me, who would you include? Here is the list so far:

The USA Team

1. Jackie Huba/Ben McConnell – Church of the Customer (Austin, Texas)
2. Andy Sernovitz – Damn! I Wish I Thought of That! (Chicago, Illinois)
3. Pete Blackshaw – CGM (Cincinnati, Ohio)
4. Jim Nail – Influence 2.0 (Boston, Massachusetts)
5. Idil Cakim – dot WOM (New York, New York)
6. Jeremiah Owyang – Web Strategist (San Francisco, Calfornia)
7. Rohit Bhargava – Influential Marketing (Washington, D.C.)
8. Owen Mack – CoBrandIt (Boston, Massechussetts)
9. Walter Karl – WOM Study (Boston, Massachusetts)
10. Fred Reichheld – Net Promoter – (Boston, Massachusetts)
11. Max Kalehoff – Attention Max (New York, New York)
12. Olivier Blanchard – The Brand Builder (Greenville, South Carolina)
13. Charlene Li – Charlene Li (San Francisco, California)
14. Sam Decker – Bazaar Blog and Decker Marketing (Austin, Texas)
15. Joseph Jaffe – Jaffe Juice (New York, New York)
16. John Moore – Brand Autopsy (Austin, Texas)
17. Peter Kim – Being Peter Kim (Austin, Texas)
18. Mack Collier – The Viral Garden (Florence, Alabama)
19. Spike Jones – Brains on Fire (Greenville, South Carolina)
20. Ron McDaniel – Buzzoodle (Cleveland, Ohio)
21.John Jantsch – Duct Tape Marketing (Kansas City, Missouri)
22. Kim Proctor – How to Create Powerful Customer Experiences (Los Angeles, California)
23. Rob Walker – Murketing (Savannah, Georgia)
24. Lois Kelly – Foghound (Providence, Rhode Island)
25. Ann Handley – MarketingProfs (Boston, Massachusetts)
26. Shiv Singh – Going Social Now (New York, New York)
27. Laurent Flores – Customer Listening Blog (New York, New York)
28. Tom Asacker – A Clear Eye (Manchester, New Hampshire)
29. Francois Gossieaux – Emergence Marketing (Boston, Massachusetts)
30. Geoff Livingston – The Buzz Bin (Washington, B.C.)
31. Dave Balter – BzzAgent (Boston, Massachussetts)
32. John Bell – Digital Influence Mapping Project (Washington, D.C.)
33. Todd Tweedy – Word Spreads Quickly (Charlottesville, Virginia)
34. Marta Kagan – the Secret Diary of a Bonafide Marketing Genius (Boston, Massachusetts)
35. Greg Stielstra – Pyromarketing (Nashville, Tennessee)
36. Willow Baum Lundgren – Small Planet (Kansas City, Missouri)
37. Amber Naslund – The Brand Box (Chicago, Illinois)
38. Greg Verdino – (New York, New York)
39. Paul Chaney – Conversational Media Marketing (Lafayette, Louisiana)
40. August Ray – Experience – The Blog (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
41-42??? Your Turn

Europeanflag The International Team

1. Frederick Herrman – Netszkobold (Germany)
2. Emmanuel Vivier – Culture-Buzz (Luxembourg)
3. Sean Moffitt – Buzz Canuck (Canada)
4. Rachel Clarke – Behind the Buzz (England)
5. Gavin Heaton – Servant of Chaos (Australia)
6. Sam Flemming – (China)
7. Ian McKee – The Power of Influence (Singapore) 
8. Mirko Pollera/Alex Giordano – Ninja Marketing (Italy)
9. Russell Davies – Russell Davies (England)
10. Simon McDermott – Attentio (Belgium)
11. Andy Lark – Andy Lark  (New Zealand)
12. Max Lenderman – Experience the Message (Canada)
13. Paul Marsden – Viral Culture (England)
14. Laurent Valembert –  Marketing Alternatif (France)
15. Mike Rowe – 1000 heads (UK)
16. Par Thunstrom – Buzzador (Sweden)
17. CLeber Martins – Blog de Guerrilha (Brazil)
18  Willem Sodderland – Buzzer (Netherlands)
19. Jean Nasr – Alt-Buzz (France)
20. Igor Beuker – Viral Tracker (Netherlands)
21. Grant McCracken – This Blog Sits At...(Canada)
22. Mitch Joel – Six Pixels of Separation (Canada)
23. Justin Kirby – DMC (U.K.)
24. Sebastian Provencher – Praized  (Canada)
25. Alan Moore/Tomi Ahonen – Communities Dominate Brands (England/Hong Kong)
26. Anna Farmery – The Engaging Brand (UK)
27. Neil Perkin – Only Dead Fish (UK)
28. Johnnie Moore – Johnny Moore’s Werblog (UK)
29. Joanna Kocieba – BuzzReporter (Poland)
30. Hjortur Smarason – Marketing Safari (Iceland)
31. Krishna De – Biz Growth News (Ireland)
32. Fred Cavazza – (France)
33. Bart van Der Aa – Icemedia (Netherlands)
34. Gianluca Artesano – Frozen Frogs (Italy)
35. Ivo Laurin – Outbreak (Czech)
36. Chris Abraham – Chris Abraham (Germany)
37. Mark Earls – Herd (U.K.)
38. David Eicher – Brainwash (Germany)
39. Pepe Wietholz – Buzz People(Germany)
40 Christian Wilfer/Carolina Schulz – (Germany)
41. Dean Hunt – – (UK)
41-42??? Your Turn


Servant of Chaos
Originally uploaded by servantofchaos

Philippe Deltenre has been doing a series of profiles on marketing bloggers, featuring my good friends Christina (CK) Kerley, Valeria Maltoni and Mack Collier. Each of these profiles make for excellent reading, especially the first question — what was your first blog post.

Philippe has kindly asked me to participate in the next round of interviews … and while he has changed some of the questions, he still asks about the first blog post. Interestingly, when I dug back through my archives I couldn’t find it … until I realised that I had moved it somewhere else.

So here it is … in all its naive glory.

The Servant of Chaos
We begin with a rant. A rumble. A shout. There is more in the mind, more on the fingertips, more spilling from the edges of our quivering lips than can fill the words of a thousand weblogs.
The diaries of the insane, the newly reposessed, the righteous, the deluded, and yes, even I.
The daily diatribe of the left, the right, the religious and informed brooks no argument.
But we will give them one.
You and I.
We will give them one.
There are more to the words of consumers than the corporations expect.
We huddle in groups, in chat rooms.
We explode on the keyboards of a million call centres.
Our imagination is unheard of. Our thoughts cancel out the process.
We are your hearts and your minds.
We are everywhere, all places, all over the shop.
In your blood, at your workplace.
Serving you tea.
Writing you emails.
We don’t really want to, for this is who we are.
A new opportunity opens every day.
It opens with the page.
The pen.
Another rant.
In control? Hell no!
We are in slavery to the chaos of our lives.
This is the manifesto of one.

No longer the bridesmaid

I did mean to post about this yesterday but I just had to leave my computer behind and go and MEET some bloggers here in Sydney! After weeks of hovering around the edges of The Viral Garden’s Top 25 Marketing Blogs, the Servant of Chaos blog has broken in to reach No 24! It is a great honour considering the quality of the sites that are on the list — and says much about all my great readers who continue to visit, comment and contribute to this site.

As you know, we have the Age of Conversation eBook coming up but I also have a few other surprises that I can share with you over the next few weeks. Thanks again for all your support — and hey, when you are in Sydney, drop by for one of our coffee mornings or evening drinks!

A Delicious Library

delicious library OMG
Originally uploaded by petit hiboux.

This is not actually a post about this tremendous piece of Mac software (though you Mac folks may want to check it out!).

Joseph Jaffe is running a survey on the most valuable marketing blogs. The premise is this — many of us don’t read books so much anymore, we prefer blogs (sorry CK). So now you can vote for the top 5 out of a list of 32. When voting consider which blog:

  • delivers the best crash course/introduction to new marketing for newcomers/newbies
  • provides essential insights to those trying to get up to speed with the pace of change
  • offers superior levels of marketing relevance, value and utility
  • demonstrates consistent strategic thought leadership

There really are some great blogs here, some which I have not (perhaps to my shame) read. Looks like I have a busy night of reading ahead of me!

Will You Still Love Me When I am 500?

SocstarI have been amazed. Humbled even. At times, dumbstruck … but also exhilarated. I have watched from time to time as my Technorati ranking inches higher and the number of links increase. Early on, Ann Handley gave me the opportunity to contribute to MarketingProfs which made me write a bio, upload a photo and start using my own name rather than the mysterious "Servant of Chaos". I have been mentioned as hovering somewhere on the edge of Mack Collier’s Top 25 Marketing Blogs (wow, cool). A little while ago Liz Strauss awarded me an SOB, and Todd And recently decided to expand (and automate) his Power 150 to include non-US sites such as Russell’s blog, Brand Tarot, Adliterate and Servant of Chaos.

While I am pleased to be mentioned alongside all these great blogs it still amazes me that through blogging it is possible to reach out, engage and become friends with people from all over the world. As David Armano recently said to me "My blog life is far more glamourous than my real life" — me too!

I checked Technorati today and found that I am close to having 500 inbound blog links. This seems to me to be a milestone of some kind. Much of this, I feel, is a result of the phenomenal Z-list … and may evaporate in the next 90-180 days, but it is nice while it lasts!

Having said that, one of the most fascinating things that can be done is to follow the hypertext love back through the web. By doing this I have found some amazing and exciting blogs and "met" a wide range of people from Europe to India, across the US and even here in Australia (just check my blogroll — I do almost every day). I am sure that a big blog party has to be on the cards soon!

So, I was thinking about what it means to turn 500, and wondering how best to celebrate. It is clear that there are many people who read my posts but don’t leave comments — and probably have been doing so for some time. So … I am thinking I will take a leaf out of Pauly’s book and open up the chaos to a guest blogger. All you got to do is be the 500th inbound blog link — then come back here and leave me a comment. Scary? Maybe not for you, but probably for me!

Oh, and if you want to be a Hollywood Star, get your own here.

Blog Roll Spring Clean

plush sushi roll cat toy
Originally uploaded by pureEVA.

I know it’s a mess. I know I should fix it, give it some sort of order, but you know, I sort of have an understanding of where everyone’s site is on the list.

But, there comes a time in every blog’s life when some housekeeping needs to be done. It may start with a new design, a new widget or two and progress from there. In many ways a blog roll says more about the blog owner than the blogs that one links to …

So I am going to embark on a bit of a blog roll spring clean. Now is your chance … if you would like me to change the name of your blog or the URL or even add a new one in … leave a comment and I will do my best!

By the end of it, this blog roll will not only be tasty but also very pretty. Well at least there will be SOME order to the chaos.

Too Funny

OK … so I still cannot comment on ANY Typepad blog — and it seems that some of you cannot comment here. I don’t know what is going on, and the Typepad folks don’t seem to be able to fix it. So it seems I will have to write my comments here and link back. Unfortunately this means that I can’t really engage in the conversation … and it is quite frustrating, because there are some great discussions taking place at the moment!

  • In celebration of Paul’s 1000th comment, he is handing over blog control to his readers — well to the reader who submits the 1000th comment. So, at last count, it looks like the winner is Tim Jackson who promises a fistful of curses and sharp insight that will make your eyes bleed.
  • Cam is upset at the ongoing corporate branding and trademarking of common phrases. I agree.
  • Ariel explains that men who look at women for 10 minutes per day achieve a similar level of health benefit as those who exercise for 30 minutes at the gym. Finally a type of exercise that I can cope with!
  • Roger shares his travel adventures in Egypt with us all … showing his restless creative interest never holidays even when he does!
  • Marcus has taken his bat and ball and gone home.
  • His alter-ego continues to apply for jobs with top European agencies, finding that his approach while "genius", does not achieve the desired outcome.

Vote for Maryam

Originally uploaded by melfeasance.

As you know, I recently discovered Maryam’s delightful blog on the joys and challenges of living in a foreign country. If you have not yet taken a look through Maryam’s site you are in for a TREAT … it is filled with poetic descriptions of places, sites and scenes and, in case you can’t believe her words, she also includes pictures!

Maryam is able to capture a balance between the writing and imagery that enhances both … and she writes with a unique voice and a true love for her new home in Marrakesh. But, don’t take MY word for it, read this post or any others in her well-stocked archive.

Now, Maryam has been nominated for the 2007 Annual Weblog Awards … so if you have seen and loved her blog, be sure to vote for her! Remember, you only have until 02FEB07!

MyBlogLog and the End of Lurking

After getting a couple of messages via MyBlogLog, I decided I would take a closer look and see whether it actually has anything to offer. Sure enough, there are a couple of people I know bouncing around there … with David Armano, Ariel Waldman, Marcus Brown and Mike Sansone making appearances … so at least there are some faces that I can recognise in the MyBlogLog sea of community.

Now, I completely understand the concept of personalising your site or your brand … and I totally get my friend Mike Wagner’s Own Your Own Brand philosophy, but I have got to say that I don’t necessarily like to see my face on the web. I don’t know if it is modesty or shame but you will notice there are very few photos of me here. In fact, the first photo of me to appear on the web was posted along with my profile over at MarketingProfs (Ann Handley has a lot to answer for). And I do find it bizarre to see my face appearing in the MyBlogLog widget that is spreading like a rash across the web. Perhaps I would not mind so much if it showed your face AFTER you left the site — but to arrive at a site and see this seems strange.

And as I considered this, it made me also think through the concept of lurking. Because there I was, visiting Drew McLellan’s site (where I hardly ever leave a comment), and it struck me that Drew could now tell that I had been visiting. Does this mean that the lurkers can no longer drop by unannounced? Will this make us more or less adventurous? Does this change the relationship between blogger and blogged to?

While I can’t imagine that this changes anything too much, the addition of personal images does play a part in HOW we select links. For example, are you more or less likely to click the picture of an attractive blogger over a less attractive one? What about an ugly blogger? Take a look here and see which images you choose to click on. Are your choices completely random?

Remember when we used to say that the best looking people on the web were poets?

Escaping the Ad:Tech Prison

Meeting Prison
Originally uploaded by Valentinian.

The Ad-Tech roadshow opens its doors in Sydney in February. I am generally a little sceptical of these blab fests, but they do create a nice forum for people to meet. You can check out the schedule here.

One of the more interesting off-campus events is being organised by The Bargain Queen at the Arthouse Hotel on 7 February from 7.00pm. Don’t forget to register/RSVP — should be fun. Beer and bloggers! Now that sounds more like my style!