Posted by Amanda Chapel
By way of introduction, the "Top Web Marketer" in our headline is Joe Jaffe. Joe happens to be the real deal. He's Founder and President of the new media mashup consultancy, Crayon. He’s a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School. He’s a renowned consultant and sought-after speaker with this whole “conversational marketing” thing. Bottom line: he’s the genuine article, a passionate and true voice in New Media. Let’s put it this way, he's a diamond in the rough of all the knuckleheads that compose the bloggererati.
That said ironically, in this case, it also happens that he's does a fine job of articulating why they're all wrong. In defending the MWW-Nikon D80 Blogger Campaign yesterday, he inadvertently made a rather strong case against blogola. Yikes! Exactly the opposite of what he had hoped to accomplish, I'm afraid.
Bottom line: For marketers to influence the blogosphere, they absolutely need to “incentify” and bond with this amorphous metaverse. Blogola is an important strategy. Actually, Web Marketers are not going to give this one up without a fight. If they lose this... so also likely goes the business case for Web Marketing, period.
Below are excerpts of a podcast done by Joe for "Across the Sound." We tried to boil it down to key quotes. Unfortunately, "it’s a loaner but I’ll be damned if I give it back” and “not many strings attached,” etc., ended up on our cutting room floor.
Now, one more moment before we get to Joe's comments. Here are a few quick definitions for reference:
KEY QUOTES: Jeff Jaffe on the Nikon Blogger Campaign
Excuse me... as you are someone who accepted the MWW-Nikon “bribe;” one who fully and enthusiastically participates in their program; and one who advocates similar programs as a part of his own business and livelihood... I totally understand.
Fact is most reporters, e.g. NYT, WSJ, BusinessWeek, Forbes, etc. , can't even accept a free lunch anymore because of new ethics guidelines. The era of wining, dining and bribing reporters is long over. So the PR industry has now leveled its sites on the horde of unprofessional bloggers; And you are their enthusiastic champion.
Anyway, selling out is nothing new. What ever the medium, this stuff is always in the end ferreted out. Sorry but, no matter how you try to spin it Joe, this kind of shit will NEVER escape the taint of the perception of impropriety. It just won’t. It's dirty.
Posted by Amanda Chapel
Okay, first off, I've only been talking about this for a couple years now. PRs are notorious herders. We love the social seen 'cause that's where all the communications action is. So how come none of the biggies -- O’Dwyer’s, PRWeek, Bulldog, PR News – none have really put it all together? I’m totally at a loss.
Well, fast forward... someone's finally done it. Someone's put all the social media tools together in one place for the industry. Lawrence Ragan Communications Inc., one of the leading training companies for external and internal communications worldwide, just launched MyRagan.com; and it’s already being described as "the MySpace of the PR industry."
Hate to be an I-told-you-so but... I was soooo on the money about demand. They’re exploding. In less than two weeks since the launch, they already have well over 3,000 members. It’s THE new HOT SPOT in PR. If you’re in, you’re in. Apparently, it’s THE place to see and be seen.
According to Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications: “It’s all been done with very little promotion actually. We had purposefully planned for a soft launch to ensure all systems were go. But word of mouth spread like fire. We’re just in awe how this thing has mushroomed globally."
Well, word is that none of this is surprising to the younger members of Ragan's staff. Kevin Allen, one of Ragan's young reporters, quipped with a smile: “Look, if you grew up on MySpace and Match.com, then you know that much of the allure of these social networking sites is checking out the babes and hunks. Excuse me but, there's a LOT of attractive people in the PR Business!"
Sure sounds like fun. But some industry observers remain a little skeptical. Can Ragan sustain that momentum once this initial sex appeal wears off? One Canadian blogger, Ron Shewchuk warned that early success may not mean anything if people don't have any reason to come back.
Ragan understood that at the outset and planned for exactly that online eventuality. “That pure sex appeal phenomenon of social sites is another reason we wanted a soft launch. I have no interest in being a flash in the pan. We know that in order to maintain the cohesiveness of the site, we need to deliver the goods. At the end of the day, you’ve got to offer value.”
Indeed, he does. The new social networking site also offers news roundups, free downloadable toolkits, executive reports and an information exchange for members to swap tips, resources and strategies.
WAIT... THERE’S MORE! Ragan’s put his longtime senior editor David Murray in charge of content. Murray has an industry reputation for editorial integrity. Unlike other web free-for-alls, Ragan plans variety as well as high editorial standards.
Ragan said: "With Dave at the helm you can be sure there’ll be all the food groups -- controversy, humor, debates, contests. We’re going to offer the business a smorgasbord of content to keep people wanting more. More importantly, we’re going to offer a plethora of things that will help members grow professionally.”
With all that a given... the rest of their growth plan is pretty organic. They’ve already seen evidence of it unfolding. Without any intervention from the Ragan staff, some three dozen interest groups have sprung up on the inside pages, including Fashion PR, Hollywood PR, Crisis Communications and Intranet Development. Equally surprising was the instant creation of a global community.
"We have people pouring in from South Africa, India, Europe, Canada and Australia. Last week we started seeing members come in from China." says Ragan. “As a networking platform for the industry, it’s really unbelievable.”
Fantastic! Again, I hate to say "I told you so" but...
Anyway, all good. Big props to Mark and his team.
If you haven't yet already, I do encourage you to check it out. If you happen to bump into Mark, tell ‘em Amanda sent ya.
DISCLAIMER: In the next day or so, you're going to see an ad here for MyRagan.com. Note: it's not a paid spot. We are just thrilled to support what they're doing.
Posted by Amanda Chapel
This just in from our affiliate at the Islamic Republic News Agency....
Posted by Amanda Chapel
Here's a total rarity in the blogosphere. We're going to connect the dots and tell a story. Surely, if you've spent more than a few hours here in the social-media metaverse, you know bloggers are notorious shell collectors. "LOOK WHAT I FOUND!" is heard as they stroll along the beach at Half Moon Bay. For as much linking as they do, for all the flickr snapshots, rarely do they add it up and give you the BIG picture. "Isn't this cool," Rick Murray and his Web buddies are like to say.
Well, this certainly ain't cool: earlier this week it was reported that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is pushing Congress hard to update intellectual property law. What he wants to do is significantly increase criminal penalties for copyright infringement.
"YIKES," replied a few of the more sensible geeks. They groused for a couple hours; they pumped their chests and boasted about their invincibility; and then got back to Twittering. Chalk it up to systemic Attention Deficit.
But wait a minute! Yo! If that ain't the lights coming up signaling the end of Socialmediapalooza, what is?
Listen, it was a fantastic party but apparently it's been rained out. Yes Rick, what I remember was cool, indeed. But now we've got the whole "movement" out in some dairy farmer's backyard, knee-deep in trash and thick mud. It was great fun for sure, well, at least until the psychedelics began to wear off. Personally, I found myself half naked, covered in filth, with the lifetime of tortuously shameful memories of gleefully doggie humping some grizzly gap-toothed leathered biker out in the open in some God-forsaken alfalfa field in upstate New York. Me! Pure heart Amanda! The gravity of it all came perfectly clear to me when I heard myself shout at the top of my lungs: "Melanie, my wallet?! Damnit. Now how the hell are we gonna get home? Shit!" At that moment I started to cry, my wings melted and I came crashing back to earth.
The same has happened with social media (SM) apparently. But this time it isn't because of some little roving gang of biker-chick pickpockets. The AG is weighing in because SM and the Web have become an all out IP mob looting fest. It's corporate America that's now saying, "WHERE'S MY WALLET!"
And now that the music's stopped, look around. Max's farm is completely trashed: We've got widespread porn that's turned love making into endurance sport for the perversely creative; There's gambling for kids with cartoon characters in Second Life; We've got the authors of famed Cluetrain Manifesto allegedly involved in a vile harassment and death-threat plot; and Social Media has made this the Golden Age of psychopathic swindles and sex predators. Arrrgh... what I wouldn't give for a shower and a confessional, let alone a bite to eat and a nice nap.
Listen, I've been here before! I know this. You really only have got two choices: You can chalk it up to a good time and keep telling yourself that "Mongo was a life experience and if I have his baby it's because God willed it." Or you can reassess and learn from the experience.
Let's reconsider, shall we?
WHAT DID WE EXPECT?
Well, not to get totally Maslow on the idea but... with any endeavor we are looking to satisfy 5 basic needs: food, security, sex, social interaction, and esteem.
Okay: we need to thank Edelman for dramatically proving that there's no bread to be made in this Second Life. Thank Kathy Sierra for shutting down any expectation of security. And thank Chris Hanson for turning off the MySpace nookie nozzle. That pretty much leaves the various conferences where one can meet and schmooze with Robert Scoble. And, of course, there's the free pitchfork and torches provided when joining Jarvis' 6-million person peasant rallies. For many, playing with Bobby and marching with Jeff are totally satisfying.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE INCREASED RISK?
As "cool" as it might sound hanging with a lovable celebrity fat man or mobbin' with a Web demagogue, you gotta consider the risks. Bottom line: Used to be you could fuck all you wanted without a condom; no more.
There are three things in play now that have seriously rained on Socialmediapalooza:
1. You so now have to watch what you say. See above reference to the alfalfa field. You're alone... well... in front of a couple hundred thousand people. As Edelman PR just learned with one of their SVP went on at the mouth and a publication, hugely important to their clients, threatened to boycott the firm... loose lips sink ships. Apparently, now minus his testicles, Rubel is the perfect alter boy; barely a peep.
2. MySpace said yesterday that it was making a concerted effort to weed out sexual predators from the youth-oriented social networking website. After getting word that an investigative company it hired in December of 2006 has ferreted out thousands of convicted sex offenders with profile web pages, top prosecutors in eight states asked the News Corporation-owned website to expose convicted sex offenders who have posted their profiles.
MySpace is presently checking its membership roster with a database of registered sex offenders and removing pages of those that match. According to MySpace, it is the "nation's first proprietary software dedicated to identifying and removing sexual predators from online communities."
3. The new sweeping intellectual property bill would put real teeth in the law. The new law would:
And the AG's office has significantly bolstered their manpower, as well. "The efforts to improve criminal IP enforcement have led to substantial increases in federal investigations and prosecutions of IP violations," Gonzales said. "We are dedicating more resources than ever before to the protection of U.S. intellectual property rights."
To understand the true significance of that one need to understand reason WHY there is such rampant theft. Simple (and Andrew Keen's Cult of the Amateur hit the nail on the head), because there's a natural dearth of talent. The fundamental flaw of the theory that everyone with a paintbrush is a Rembrandt, is that there's only one Rembrandt. Everyone else needs to variously steal and do "mashups".
So where are we? Ya increase personal accountability, hunt down the predators, and increase the penalties for theft... and what are you left with? Pretty much a lot of small talk about nothing on Twitter.
And that's pretty much what I remember of our trek home from Socialmediapalooza. Melanie and I probably walked 20 miles before we hitched a ride. I remember how we barely said a word to each other. I remember being grounded for a year. Til this day I still haven't quite resolved what happened in that alfalfa field.
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