Staying Grounded

A great post on the basics from Smashing Magazine today.  For all of us who make our living, feed our families and pay our bills based on this thing called the internet; it’s occasionally good to plug back into this machine to remind ourselves how it works.

In this case the overview begins with something that some of us in the West think could never or rarely happen: the Internet shuts down.  Of course if we lived in a Middle Eastern state, this would be something we’d have to adjust our business continuity and processes for.

Here’s a snippet:

Imagine that you wake up one morning, reach groggily for your laptop and fire it up. You’ve just finished developing a brand new website and last night you were proudly clicking through the product list. The browser window is still open, the Widget 3000 is still sparkling in its AJAXy newness. You grin like a new parent and expectantly click on “More details”. And nothing happens. You click again, still nothing. You press Refresh and get that annoying swirling icon and then the page goes blank. Help! The Internet is gone!

This chapter starts with the worst case scenario and works inwards, exploring the infrastructure of the Internet and the make-up of a Web server, imparting lots of little tips and commands along the way, opening up a new perspective on how websites can stop working — and be fixed.

Happy reading….

Another Reason to Either Admire or Doubt Apple

Another Reason to Either Admire or Doubt Apple

I am a fanboy.  Not an “emptied the pitcher, can I have another” fanboy, but I am one nonetheless. 

Which made this snippet on the iOS 7 beta pertinent to me:

The latest is a new revelation showing added options for the previously confirmed ‘iOS in the Car’. Just in case you’re not sure what that is, it’s essentially a feature within Maps that allows your phone to be connected to your vehicle’s central display in the dashboard. It was thought initially that you’d only be able to connect using a USB cable, but the latest news reveals that you’ll also be able to use AirPlay.

The article goes on to compare the gadgets in the Galaxy to the methodology of integrating iOS into the lives of its owners.

Personally, this may be early, but I”d like to see some of the gadgetry in an iPhone or iPad.  On the other hand, if it becomes easier for me to make a slightly old iPad or iPhone a new central entertainment and navigation console for my car, kudos to Apple for again being ahead of the curve.


Of course this should mean bigger buttons for audio controllers.  YAY!

Shattering the Idea of Social Media Strategery

This is a snippet from a larger post on social media analytics from Avinash Kaushik.  Kaushik is a real smart guy, a Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google.  

Closing Thoughts: Two Crazy Social Media Lessons

1. Don’t have a social strategy: create products and services that compel social activity.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that the Facebook engagement you create, the amount of traffic you can get from Facebook (to your online or offline presence) will rarely match the engagement, reach and outcomes that people who love your products will create for you.

So yes, focus on having a great Facebook presence and buy ads on Facebook, but remember to make your products and services so amazing that people can’t help talk about them on Facebook. The impact of this organic (free!) activity will blow your mind.

Ultimately social is not just about how social your company is. It is about how many social ripples your products/services create.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Apple. :)

2. Social media success does not guarantee business success.

Dippin’ Dots crossed five million Facebook Fans a couple of days before they filed for bankruptcy in Nov 2011. (They were recently rescued from bankruptcy, no not by their Facebook fans. :)).

Pepsi is one of the most active social media participants, including on Facebook. Yet year over year they’ve continued to lose market share to Coke.

The examples are numerous.

In the end, business success (amazing products and services) can be hugely amplified by social media. Social media success can rarely make up for core problems with your business / business strategy / products and services.

It breaks some things down for me, in the few minutes I’m taking to post this:

  1. Social content is similar to other content that supports brand, service, product and/or mission. The delivery method differs among social channels. No need to think of social content as some unique animal to ‘rassle with.
  2. Build your social messaging to take advantage of each channel’s strengths, and have at it.

Gawker to Launch New Commenting Program

It’s about time someone took a new approach to this.  I like the back and forth of web comments, and try to avoid making comments on fanboy sites; whether political, tech or whatever.  Groupthink is boring, but on a lot of general interest websites (NYT, CNN, local newspapers, etc) there are too many trolls, too many political strategies, no real conversation.

“…The hope was that the Internet would boost the quality of public conversation and let writers and readers collaborate on stories, but instead, he said, there’s been a “tragedy of the commons… or tragedy of the comments.”

“For every two comments that are interesting, there will be eight that will be off-topic or toxic,” Denton continued, adding that some have been so toxic that he’s seen comments bring some writers to tears.

So, to fix the problem, he said, Gawker will launch a new commenting program in six weeks that will turn an elite cadre of Gawker-selected commenters into moderators.

“The core of the Gawker idea,” Denton revealed. “Is that everybody owns the thread that they start… and the discussion that they trigger….”

Click here for the rest of the story.

How Governments and Non-profits Can Use WordPress to Successfully Create and Operate a Website

The video is from Sean Herron at WordCamp Phoenix.  Sean is a developer at NASA, the home of all things rocket scientist.  It’s a very good 45 minutes.