Scattering words

People ask why I don’t blog as much as I used to. One answer is that I write as much, but I just don’t do as much of it here. I’ve been blogging more at Linux Journal, in addition to writing for the magazine. (The March issue just arrived. In it are eight pieces of mine: five with a byline and three without.) I write much more in comments here than I did at the blog’s old site, mostly because the design here is a bit more comment-friendly. And there are other places I’m writing, such as the ProjectVRM blog (which we need to fix so that others can write there too… that’s a ball that’s still in my court). Another answer is that I’m on the phone a lot more. Not sure why that is, aside from the need to keep up with the community (which is growing in several directions at once). But it’s hard to write and talk at the same time.

In any case, It’s All Good. It’s jut not all here. Not that it ever was, actually.

So now I’m home in Santa Barbara for the last full day before I’m back on the road (actually, in the air and various subways), first to London for this next week, and then back at my other home in Boston for at least two weeks that should be blessedly free of travel.

Meanwhile, here’s a linkpile, most of which I’ll insult by commenting on them insufficiently.

AOL leaves DC. From critical mass to criticized mess:

  Senior executives looked around the region for talent, but found mostly engineers familiar with business software programming and government contracting, not cutting-edge Web applications. Dozens of creative, technical, sales and operating AOL employees decamped to Silicon Valley, New York and Boston, in search of more promising opportunities.
  “If you worked at AOL after 2002, what would you have learned at AOL that you couldn’t have learned at other places?” said Mark Walsh, an early AOL executive who is an active local investor. “What you learned was how to downsize.”

Sorry I’ll miss Clay Shirky’s visit to Berkman on Thursday and the FCC hearing (with all five commissioners) on Monday. Bad week to be gone, but good for much VRM stuff happening in the U.K.

Jay Deragon asks, Is `The Cluetrain leaving The Station? I’d say the clues have arrived, but are unevenly distributed. Carter F. Smith gets plenty, and asks, If traditional marketing won’t work in The Relationship Economy, what will?

By the way, I’ll be live with Jay on Where is my Customer? The Impact of Social Media on Selling, on Thursday.

Already available is this LinuxWorld podcast with Don Marti. In it I cast doubt on the default assumption that advertising is going to pay for everything. It ain’t.

2008 Web Trend Map.

Mary Hodder: I’ve never seen coverage with Doc or David or Loic in fashion. Via this NYTimes piece.

Joe Andrieu: Figure it out for the individual user first, then find ways to use technology to scale efficient solutions. Averages need not be applied. Monolithic approaches to marketing and product development need not apply. Micro-focus at a mega scale.

Higgins 1.0 is out.

I got quoted by Marshall Kirkpatrick from a NewsGang ‘logue, saying Google is vulnerable in search. Others disagreed. Read the comments. The main thing I’d add is that Google needs competition. Search services that zig where Google zags. Not enough of that yet.


  1. Jay Deragon’s avatar

    The March 3rd issue of Business Week the cover story is titled “Consumer Vigilantes” which addresses the power of the social web in revealing stories of both poor and good customer service.

    The article says “For companies that don’t tend to their customers, the consequences can be dire. Consumers frustrated by the regular fix-it channels are increasingly employing vigilante tactics. Whether they’re making YouTube (GOOG) videos or posting account numbers on blogs filled with digital rants, more and more consumers are getting companies to respond on their terms. We tell the story of Paul English, one of the original consumer vigilantes, whose Web site cracked the code for circumventing the call center and helping consumers everywhere get to a real live human being. Finally, we check in with blogger Jeff Jarvis, who famously took Dell (DELL) to task for its service on his blog BuzzMachine. He weighs in with a column on how companies can put all that online aggravation to work for them.”

    Right across the page from the main article is a full page advertisement for “The Customer Collective“, another community run by our friends at Social Media Today, kudos to Robin and Jerry. The advertisement promotes the upcoming Webcast with Doc Searls and myself. The full article about “Consumer Vigilantes” is worthy of the read in that the primary message is that the social web empowers consumers to express dissatisfaction with any product/service, any company anywhere and from one to one to millions.

    Has the Message Gone Mainstream?

    Mark Kerrigan, a blogger at “The Communications Factor”, tells a story where he wrote a post complaining about Comcast and within 24 hours had a response from a customer service manager at Comcast who has subsequently engaged with Mark numerous times. Kudos to Comcast.

    Micheal Orshan, a conversationalist on Facebook, has set up over 50 groups on Facebook titled ” Conversations on (name the top 50 brands)” with the aim of creating conversational rivers around both the good and bad experiences consumers have with these brands.

    The Business Week article highlights the top 25 companies that have outstanding customer service support, as determined by the customer, and addresses how these companies have removed barriers so that customers can talk to real people and get their issues resolved.

    So back to the question, “Has The Message Gone Mainstream?”. The answer to this question lies with the consumer however the heightened awareness the article by Business Week brings to both companies and consumers adds significant value to two fronts.

    1. The increasing power of the social web
    2. The need for companies to become more consumer friendly

    The networking dynamic, both online and in the physical world, will fuel conversations sparked by the Business Week article. In a Feb 20th article in Business week titled “Social Media Will Change Your Business” the writers add more fuel to bring the message mainstream. Like any other media Business Week will gauge its subject matter relevance based on reader response rates. When readers, lots of them, respond then the media takes notice and continues to write stories relative to the subject matter that draws readers. If you haven’t noticed yet Business Week has been consistently writing stories relevant to the social web and the subsequent dynamics and issues. Kudos to Business Week.

    So, if you want the message to stay mainstream then don’t stand on the sideline, jump in and write about the Business Week articles both in your blogs and respond to theirs online. Let the conversations continue to swell……..

  2. Chip’s avatar

    On personal data:

    London – we’re headed there too, but likely won’t cross paths
    Likely you’re busy, Shirley and I will be headed to Chester, meeting future son-in-law’s parents
    Essentially long weekend

    Drop a line if you want to try to meet, tip a pint

    Jay : sad to say that often, when a story hits BizWeek, it may be end of trend


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