Friday, November 21, 2008

I really need to get into the habit of taking a mid-day break

Because now my eyeballs are glazing over and I need a break but the sun is sinking and the idea of going outside is completely unappealing.

I tell myself this every day around 2pm, but it's practically impossible to pry myself out of my house. I'm not agoraphobic or anything, but the lengths I have to go to to get myself to walk out the door sometimes are ridiculous. I wonder if it's a female thing, because I've run into this problem a lot with girl friends. They always want me to come to their house.

When I get rich, I'm going to hire my own girl to come over here and extricate me. I'll probably call her an "assistant" or "personal trainer" but what she actually is is an Amy Extrication Device (AED).

I wonder if I could patent that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Is Social Media Killing PR? - event writeup

So, I have a mission to visit as many events of interest to San Francisco Micropreneurs as possible. Today, I’m at the Horn Group’s "Is Social Media Killing PR?" blogger panel. This is the first event I’ve been to so far where I wasn’t already part of the group and I feel a little bit as though I’m crashing the party. I’m here partly because of Girls in Tech, which is comfortably resemblent to my old SFWOW conceptual stomping grounds. Most of the guests wearing nametags that refer to companies I’ve never heard of. There are a lot of attractive, slender, well-dressed women in their 30’s. I feel outclassed. Wine and catered food is served. It is very good. I can’t believe this is free.

It’s amazing what you can learn just by sitting around. Sabrina Horn is the president That would account for the Girls in Tech tie in. I tell people I’m a blogger with about six readers because no one ever tries to make themselves sound unimportant in these circles. The food is really good. I wonder who arranged this?

It is packed. There are too many people and I’m too intimidated / overwhelmed to introduce myself. I’m sweltering. I duck into the ladies to remove a few layers of clothing and they’re talking about …hashtags. Geeky!

When I emerge, the crowd has thinned somewhat, as people spread out into other areas of the office, grabbing perches in view of the “stage” and discovering there is food in more than one location. It really is a very nice office. Apparently the MC, Jeremiah, is a rock star. I’ve never heard of him.

I get up from my comfortable seat with no view so I can get look at Sabrina. She’s wearing a red wool cape and a matching red dress with black suede stiletto boots. You rock on with your bad ass self. OMG she challenged us to spend a day here to see what they do. I am so there. I’ll have to write her later and find out if she really meant it.

As the panel progresses, I realize that I know more about social media than most of the audience. Apparently I need to promote myself better ...I could totally consult on this if I wanted to. The panel discussion is illuminating in other ways. When I first heard the title, I thought it was utterly retarded. I mean: how can social media be a threat to PR? Isn't that like saying television is a threat to PR? Twitter, bloggers, etc. are just another medium for PR, aren't they? In which case, social media should be a *boon* for PR, because more channels mean you'll need to hire more PR people to cover them.

It comes out that the threat comes from transparency. Apparently, certain industries are in a tizzy because they've gotten used to there only being a few media outlets, which could be controlled with connections and money. They have been using PR, not so much as image consultants and story tellers, but as censors, making sure that the public heard about things that made them look good and spinning or repressing things that made them look bad. To which I say: too bad, and maybe you should stop doing things that are sketchy.

Anyhow, if you want to check out who was there and what they said, there's a hashtags link with everybody's tweets on it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Listening to Naomi reminds me of a Martha Stewart article

A few years ago, I read this article - not by Martha Stewart, but about her. The author (whose name now escapes me, as well as the title of the article) was writing about a video she’d once watched where Martha was demonstrating how to make a moss carpet for bonsai. She would pick up a clump of moss in her hand and crumble it over the surface, all the while explaining in a reassuring voice how easy it was to do and how the crumbs would grow into a smooth, green carpet in a few weeks.

Naomi is a lot like that. In her online business school, she talks about how she made tons of money by focusing on one tiny market and then it turned out not to be so tiny after all. And sure, that is part of it. And part of it is luck. But it is not just focus, or just luck. She breaks things down. She makes the impressive accessible.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Social Marketing Goodness

In my family of origin, if you really admire someone, you almost never say it to their face. For some reason, this is considered over-familiar and manipulative. If you really want to make someone feel good about themselves, you talk about them behind their backs. Loudly, so they can eavesdrop. If you’re the shy sort, you might confide in their “closest person” (parent/child/spouse). And if your appreciation is too embarrassingly gushy, just choose whichever relative has the biggest mouth. That way, your filthy praise will pass through many hands before reaching the intended recipient and be legitimized through hearsay.

I did at some point learn that normal people do not act this way, but this knowing has never translated itself into habit. Thank god for the internet where anything goes so long as you’re funny. I figure I might as well get this all out on the table now, in the third post.

Anyhow, tonight I went to this awesome presentation on social marketing by web geniuses Anna Billstrom and Janet Fouts who I know from my SFWOW days way back when I was skinny. (I think I’m supposed to introduce SFWOW at this point but you hosers should just go see for yourselves because if I stop to do that I’m never gonna finish this.) There were about 16 people there and they had beer. Then Anna and Janet told us about all kinds of useful things, like:
  • Pingfm – lets you post content to multiple networks at once
  • Friendfeed - aggregates all your shit in one place so you don't have to go clicking all over tarnation
  • Socializr - which is like evite, only better, and does mashups which may or may not be fictional*
  • Social Mention - mines Twitter, Delicious, FriendFeed, Flickr, Digg, etc. to see if anyone is talking about you.
  • Twitterpacks help you find interesting people to follow
  • Qwitter – lets you know when someone stops following you
Also, interesting tidbits, like:
  • Facebook has software that actually recognizes faces
  • Google indexes tweets in 15 minutes
  • Twitphone and Twinkle are good for iPhone but Twittlator is not
  • Your website's Bounce Rate should be under 40%
I have probably got some of this wrong, because it is late and I was transcribing from voice by hand without spellcheck or Google. So if you want to know more, you should check out the handout, or Anna's page because she was on the 'net since before there were pictures and knows more about email marketing than God. Or possibly Janet because she is famous and finds out about all the cool new web gadgets before Anna does.

*Actually this wasn't in the presentation, I found it on Anna's website when I was stalking her.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Back Link Checker

So I was stalking Naomi (again) the other day because the bitch does not update often enough and since she disabled comments and has yet to discover trackbacks there is no way for me to easily find and connect with other bloggers who might be part of that conversation. This is driving me crazy because I had been drifting in an ocean of professional ennui before I found her blog and the combination of her writing and the community that had grown up around it struck the kind of chord in me that makes me want to dance around the room and scream THIS IS IT! THIS IS IT! THIS IS IT! I'm not clear at this point what I mean by IT, but at this point I've accepted that finding my life's purpose is going to require a lot of fumbling around in the dark, and I'm grateful for even near-misses.

Anyway, back to link checker: I am hungry for other members of the tribe and conversation so I wanted a way to find the other blogs who linked to Naomi. There are various ways of doing this from your own site. Wordpress, for example, has an "incoming links" feature and Googling "who links to me?" will give you another dozen options. But I wanted a tool that would tell me who links to someone else's site, and I hadn't figured out that many of these tools will let you plug any old URL in whether you own it or not.

I was going to write a list here about various link-checkers and people who link to Naomi. But now I am tired, so maybe later.