Monday, June 30, 2008

creative Twitter bios (Part 2)

Micro-content includes email subject lines, forum topic thread titles, blog taglines, company slogans, microblog/status update messages (Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, Plurk, etc.), social network profiles, and Twitter bios.

Think about what your Twitter bio says about you. How would a potential client or customer relate to your bio copy?

Let these creative Twitter bios inspire, confound, or amuse you! From genius to goofy, there's enough variety to satisfy the most demanding and diverse tastes. Notice how smart people use silly bios -- or use their bio to market their products and link to their website or blog.

Perhaps, after examining these Twitter bios, you'll think of a way to improve your own. Or maybe you'll just have a few laughs!

Be sure to check out Creative Twitter Bios (Part 1). Part 3 will be published tomorrow.

(28) Peoria Pundit (Billy Dennis)

Former journalist with a blog and a bad attitude.

(29) Conversation Age (Valeria Maltoni)

I have been called a communicator, a marketer, and a Renaissance person. I'm *the* Conversation Agent.

(30) AnnOhio

If you don't add to my life, I'm subtracting you.

(31) Springnet (Paul Terry Walhus)

web host and developer, videographer, blogger, vlogger

(32) problogger (Darren Rouse)

Blogger at, co-author of

(33) Guy Kawasaki

Alltop, Garage, and Truemors

(34) AndrewBadera

Software Geek! and CTO of Change Round-Up.

(35) badbanana

Flurpity Flurp!

(36) Ian Kennedy

I enjoy laughing out loud.

(37) Copyblogger (Brian Clark)

I run and other sites that won't fit here.

(38) lmorchard (Leslie M. Orchard)

serially enthusiastic, caffeine-dependent {web,mad,computer} scientist and {tech,scifi} writer

(39) Wayne Sutton

New/Social Media Technology Evangelist, IT & Mobile Consultant, tech company, Marketing, News, blogs, video, podcast, vlog, blogging

(40) allaboutgeorge (George Kelly)

I'm just a no-name reporter. I wish I had nothing to say.

(41) Tim O'Reilly

Founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media

(42) Seth Godin

The unofficial Twitterfeed of SETH GODIN, a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change.

(43) BassGhost

The world is batshit crazy. I'm still in love with the place. Draw your own conclusions.

(44) dahowlett (Dennis Howlett)

Full time blogger on innovation for professional accountants.

(45) mobasoft (Michael Bailey)

Functioning ADD/OCD with a knack for focusing until something else comes alo...

(46) catalyst (Michael

author | speaker | catalyst - changing the way people protect information

(47) jjprojects (John Johnston)

Social Media Junkie. Advocate. Odd.

(48) Doc Searls

Linux Journal editor, Berkman/Harvard & CITS/UCSB fellow

(49) Meg Fowler

now lemon fresh!

(50) Xeni Jardin

Curator of Internet Esoterica, Anomalies, and Curiosities. BB co-editor, BBtv host/exec producer.

(51) Biz Stone

Co-founder of Twitter

(52) Mickipedia

oontz oontz

(53) lizwebpage

Internet enthusiast, endorphin junkie, insomniac, fun chick.

(54) Doug Meacham

Marketing Blogger, Customer Experience Junkie, Retail Technology Consultant, Aging Rockstar-Wannabe

(55) Emily Chang

Designer. Co-founder of Ideacodes. All around webling (eHub, PicoCool, Likes robots. And fruit.

(56) 1Tim Street

Creator/Exec Producer

(57) geosteph (Steph Stockman)

science educator, softball player, aunt, mom to Logan (dog) and Kinsey (cat)

(58) bbluesman (Mark Forman)

Tilting at windmills in Greater China.

(59) iJustine

I am the internet.

(60) Baratunde Thurston

conscious comic & vigilante pundit

(61) Jeremy Zawodny

I fly and geek.

(62) Mike Germano

26 year old New Yorker. Former Politician. Creative Dir, @ Social Media Marketing Company Carrot Creative

(63) Pistachio (Laura Fitton)

Presentations that suck less, and much excitement and geekiness about microsharing. REPLIES: TOP LINKS:

(64) Shel Israel

writer. video blogger. nice guy.

(65) Liz Strauss

Social Web Strategist - I write, speak, & work with universities & business who want strategic growth through communication, social media & performance.

(66) BL Ochman

Blogger, swing dancer, Labradoodle lover, orchid grower. And one of the few people actually born in New York City

Shannon Seery Gude

Employer Brand Consultant, Candidate Community Evangelist, Geek Marketer and Kitchen Goddess

(68) Susan Reynolds

Interaction is what make me tick. Cancer has helped me do that even more:

(69) P.F. Anderson

single mom, emerging tech librn, ehealth, informatics, searchengines, web2.0, crafts, music, quilts, canning. SL: Perplexity Peccable

(70) Stowe Boyd

social tools impresario, essayist, Front Man For the /Messengers

(71) blogdiva (Liz Sabater)

blogdiva extraordinaire from and

(72) John Atkinson

Founded, so you can LISTEN to your fav news & blogs, anytime, anywhere! (& share)

(73) ckEpiphany

Just another (clever) marketer.

(74) Maggie Mason

Author of No One Cares What You Had for Lunch, publisher of Mighty Girl, Mighty Goods, and Mighty Junior.

(75) Justin Kownacki

Creator of web sitcom Something to Be Desired, co-organizer of PodCamp Pittsburgh, Freelance writer and creative problem solver.

(76) Phil Campbell

vlogger, webdeveloper, podcampuk organizer, streetgeek, mashups, api, qik, seemsic, bambuser, world social media maven - since 1995.

(77) Anil Dash

That blogging guy.

(78) Jason Calacanis

just a guy building stuff

(79) Christian Burns

husband of one, father of four, homeschool dad, classical liberal, Twittergang contributer, Newsgang member, muffler enthusiast

(80) Christopher Penn

Financial aid expert, Podcamp co-founder, speaker, author, ninja.

(81) thattalldude (Shawn Kirsch)

23 year old geek, passionate about rural America, social media, and all advancements in tech. Iraq Veteran, Spurs fan, Youth Leader, drummer.

(82) Tamar Weinberg

tech geek / blogger / social networker / i work at lifehacker and mashable and do social media stuff.

(83) technosailor (Aaron Brazell)

Much prefer to talk to you over on FriendFeed...

(84) kvetchingeditor (Chaviva E.)

I'm a Jew, sometimes slam poet who doesn't cook living in Chicago and trying to pass the time until Graduate School.

(85) Suw

Playing with computers.

(86) MarketingProfs (Ann Handley)

Ann Handley, head of content. Also see

(87) Mars Phoenix

I dig Mars!

(88) Marc Orchant

Productivity geek, storyteller, SW junkie

(89) Sexy SEO (Lora Lofark)

I'm sexy and I do SEO. Internet avant-gardist :)

(90) Guru Of Sales

Entrepreneur Superstar Blogger, web 2.0, SEO/SEM eBay and more!

(91) DoshDosh (Maki)

Philosophy student. Anime Otaku. Concerned citizen of the world.

(92) John Battelle

Media, Technology, Culture, Business

(93) Loic Le Meur

dreamy :)

(94) GeekMommy (Lucretia M. Pruitt)

Random Muse - Dilettante, Mother, Wife, ex-Professor, Social Media Devotee

(95) Pop 17 (Sarah Austin)

twitterholic, formerly Sarah Meyers, and host Pop17

(96) Matt Searles

I'm a media Artist (music, animation, video, interactive, painting, etc) and a kind of social media philosopher.. I podcast @

(97) Kamichat (Kami Huyse)

On the PR treadmill of life.

(98) Miss Rogue (Tara Hunt)

handing out whuffie like it's growin' on trees

(99) Kathy Sierra

Brain-friendly learning, Icelandic horses, User Happiness, game programming.

(100) misc (Jesse Baer)

oberlin senior and other misc things.

Okay, that's all for now. Stay tuned for Part 3 coming tomorrow.

Want your slick or nutty bio featured? DM or @ me on Twitter.

creative Twitter bios (Part 1)

A few years ago, in 2005, I did a post called Blog Taglines Experiment, which got the attention of BusinessWeek. It was a study of the slogans that bloggers wrote, generally located directly under or to the side of their blog title.

Now let's examine some interesting, funny, and brilliant Twitter bios -- that micro-content that Twitter users put in their sidebar as a brief description of who they think they are.

NOTE: Some have embedded URLs of their website or blog in their bios. Others use a blog tagline that has become legendary, and in good branding, do not change it. Then there are A Listers or industry giants who use the most silly thing they can think of, which I interpret as being humble and funny.

I think you'll love the sheer genius and goofiness, or modest professional brevity, of the Twitter community.

(1) monstro (Lane Becker) -- The person who inspired this study!

i disagree with everything you just said.

(2) Michael Arrington

Making the World a More Ajaxy Place

(3) Eve11 (Evelyn Rodriguez)

numinous poet myth maker fairytale fan dreamweaver art addict storydweller imaginatrix skipping to global Renaissance & golden age

(4) Chris Webb

Associate Publisher, John Wiley & Sons EMEA (UK) - Banging my head against a wall of old media

(5) NewMediaJim (Jim Long)

new media soul trapped in an old media body

(6) Scobleizer (Robert Scoble)

Tech geek blogger @

(7) Jeffrey Zeldman

invented fire

(8) Gaping Void (Hugh McLeod)

"cartoons drawn on the back of business cards"

(9) SpaceyG (Grayson)

Born to blog

(10) Creative Sage (Cathryn Hrudika)

Creative Sage™ lives a passionate personal mission to cause the spontaneous combustion of creativity, innovation, and compassionate intelligence everywhere.

(11) Jeremiah Owyang

Currently employed as Senior Analyst, Social Computing, Forrester Research | How I use Twitter

(12) Richard at DELL

member of Dell's digital media team

(13) Paul Walsh

The Irish Opportunist - Chair, British Interactive Media Association. Founder/CEO, Segala. Founder/CEO, wubud. Partner, Jaipur Restaurants.

(14) Chris Heur

Social Media Club Founder, Market Conversations, New Marketing, Speaker, Social Media

(15) Charlene Li

Forrester analyst

(16) Ariel Waldman

(17) Ev (Evan Williams)

Co-founder and CPO of Twitter

(18) Queen of Spain (
Erin Kotecki Vest)

Queenofspainblog, BlogHer, HuffPo, MOMocrats

(19) jiconoclast (Patrick Thornton)

Journalist. Web developer. Blogger. Technology evangelist. Community builder. Knowledge seeker.

(20) abiteofsanity (Bryce Moore)

I'm a realistic idealist too often thinking in song lyrics while handling attack-trained OS X icons.

(21) jdasilva

Aspiring political journalist in a love affair with the internet.

(22) Chris Brogan

Social media type, but love the emerging enterprise tech space, too.

(23) DaveWiner

media hacker

(24) dweinberger (David Weinberger)

I am fewer than 160 characters

(25) MrUgly

College student, writer, dreamer

(26) PaulCarr

I'm a writer. With all the baggage that entails.

(27) jspepper (Jeremy Pepper)

Taking your lunch. Eating your cookies. PR Generalist.

Friday, June 27, 2008

determining website content

Strange as it may seem, one of the most frustrating aspects of website design is content.

Why? Because many clients are a bit unclear about what a website should contain.

Some clients think the web designer just makes up their website content, like pulling rabbits out of a hat.

Most clients would like a better understanding of how an effective website differs greatly from a brochure, advertisement, or press release. Since websites are still rather new to business, and not nearly as familiar as face to face sales or television commercials, there's an opportunity to explain this topic.

Quite often, businesses don't understand exactly what website content is important, nor how to most effectively present it.

They sometimes don't know what content their customers really need. They know primarily what they want to tell their customers. They don't know why fresh content must be continuously added. They don't know where to get fresh content and may even consider cut and paste from other sites, which is wrong.

For good value to the customer, a website must be complete. It must provide visitors with all the information they need and expect.

A guaranteed way to make a business look unprofessional is to have a partial, half-hearted "web presence".

Now, here are some mission critical web content assets.

Important Website Content:

(1) Company Information with Photos

Everything your customers need to know about your company: contact info, driving directions, map to location of offices, staff bios and photos, mission statement, corporate culture and philosophy statements, press releases, company history, what differentiates your company from competitors, and research reports your company has produced.

What would the CEO say about the company, to explain it to a trade publication, mass media journalist, student, or prospective customer?

What do your sales people say about your company when asked?

What is said about the company in your new employee orientation?

(2) Product Information

Everything your customers need to know about your products: full product line grouped into categories that make sense to customers (not to your internal politics), colors, sizes, optional add-ons, prices, recommended usage, model numbers, specifications, features, benefits.

Photos are mandatory in most cases. If customers need to see the product in action, from different angles, in use by different types of people (men and women, or young and old, for example), accomplishing a task, or in association with other products, then you need to use video.

Other products may need audio podcasts or mp3 players to which customers can listen. Audio content is good for music, audio books, seminars, and other educational or motivational products.

Ask your customers service representatives what they think you need to include in your website.

Ask your sales people and marketing staff what they think is vital to explaining and selling the products.

(3) External Credibility Enhancers

Most websites have very poor credibility. Companies assume that customers will trust them...based on what? CEOs forget that there are lots of scam, spurious, spamming websites. Organizations need to establish trust in their website content, no matter how famous or prestigious they may be.

If your corporate headquarters displays trophies, awards, and other honors, those items are great website content. Put photos of them on your website.

Testimonials from real, satisfied users are excellent material for a website.

List all the civic, charitable, and industry organizations your company belongs to, with links to their websites.

(4) Interactive Functionalities

People don't want to just stare at a website, and possibly buy things from it.

People want to do something, accomplish a task, interact with websites.

By providing interactive functionalities and problem solving tools, your website visitors will feel like you care about them. Customers will consider your website to be forming a relationship, a bond, with them.

Contact forms, online order forms, registrations, reservations, polls, podcasts, videos, and other tools will make your website more memorable and valuable to customers.

(5) News Pages and Blogs

Fresh, relevant, frequently updated content is what search engines look for, and such content boosts your rankings. Yet, sad to say, most websites are static, outdated, and dull.

A website page entitled News looks awfully bad when it's updated only a few times a year, or once a month. Isn't there more going on in your company? Toot your own horn. Let customers know that your company is exciting, progressing, always evolving and improving.

In addition to a News page, you should consider a blog. Your blog can be hosted on an external domain, or it can be a sub-page within your corporate or ecommerce site.

Blogs enable customers to interact with you. Your company will look more accessible and friendly when you have an interesting blog. Respond to comments quickly, politely, and intelligently.

Spark controversy, not by taking a harsh dogmatic stance on an issue, but by stating the prevailing opinions, and then asking readers what they think.


If you follow these guidelines, adapting them to your company and customer needs, you'll most likely be far ahead of your competitors.

Keep customer realities in mind, along with specific values that make your products better than those of competitors, and your website will shine in the midst of the darkness of typical, partial "web presence" ignorance!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Battle at Kruger example of good video content

Here's a video showing water buffalo banding together to kick the some lion butt, to rescue a baby. It won a YouTube award for Best Eyewitness Video.

This is a good example of interesting video content that you should have on your blog or website. "Battle at Kruger" is good content for almost any blog, as entertainment and education. Nature-oriented websites could also find this video appropriate.

Even though the video is technically a bit "off topic" for this blog, perhaps my readers will appreciate the inclusion of cool videos now and then.

"Battle at Kruger" (8:24)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

web usability testing is mandatory

Is your website easy for your audience to use? Can your customers quickly find the information they seek? Do your fans enjoy using your website to accomplish various tasks?

You have no idea.

You're clueless.

Your mouth remains shut.

You're completely in the dark.

You don't know if your website is usable or not.

You're totally ignorant about it.

Unless you've conducted non-invasive observational usability testing with a group of typical users. There's no getting around this fact. Unless you've watched some people, who are representative of your actual intended audience, try to use it, your website usability is a dark unknown.

No matter how nice your website looks, no matter how much information is on it, no matter how technologically advanced it is, your customers won't be pleased if they can't easily use it. You may even annoy them and lose them, if just one little thing is hard to do.

Website usability CANNOT be determined by:

* Assuming that if you can use it, everyone else probably can, too.

* Asking your designers if it's got good usability characteristics.

* Comparing your website with websites you like and admire.

* Making your website conform to good design principles.

* Checking to see if your staff can use it.

* Ensuring that all the functionalities work correctly.

* Testing the links to make sure none are broken.

* Hoping that if all the information is there, specific needs of users will be met.

* Putting lots of interactive functions on it.

* Encouraging users to use a contact form, or send you an email, if there are problems on the site.

NONE of those techniques will tell you if your website is easy for visitors to use.

How To Determine the Usability of Your Website:

You have to create a task set of all the high priority actions you want customers to perform, and high priority actions that customers themselves want to perform. Then you give that list of mission critical tasks to a group of 4 to 10 typical users.

Someone must watch, without any comments or coaching, as the test participants try to do these actions on your website. With no assistance or encouragement, no answering of questions, no tips, no corrections, they must accomplish the goals set before them.

You use a stopwatch to time them, and you make notes of what steps they took to get to each goal. Then you compare their real-life site navigation with the ideal navigation that you intended.

You'll probably see some test participants keep doing the same thing over and over, thinking that a route has to be the way to achieve the goal.

You'll probably discover that what you thought was obvious, is actually confusing.

You'll probably observe frustration and even anger, then abandonment of a task.

You'll probably hear test subjects say they feel stupid. They'll often blame themselves for not being very good on computers. They may even think that a given task is impossible to accomplish, for they have exhausted every possible way they could think of.

You'll probably be dismayed.

But -- you'll know exactly how usable, or unusable, your website is.

If you've never tested your website, you need to do it. You're sure to come up with plenty of ways to improve it. A website that's satisfying to users is a website that they'll return to and tell their friends about.

If you're about to launch a new website, conduct a web usability test first.

When users are frustrated in doing something at a website, they'll leave it and probably never return. There are too many other, competitive sites out there. There's no reason for a user to fight and struggle with a site to accomplish something.

Find out how usable your website is, improve it according to the test results, and you'll increase traffic, sales, and customer loyalty.

See my field report on how to conduct a web usability test: "User Observation Testing: Forms and Procedures".

For more great information on web usability, go to Jakob Nielsen's website:

Friday, June 20, 2008

8 secret truths about blogs

Every once in a while, an MSM journalist troll will claim that blogs are no good. My guess is their boss told them to wake up and smell the coffin, and start a blog. Being lazy and status quo, they probably got upset and told the boss: "Blogs are worthless, just pajama clad night owls describing what they had for lunch".

Years ago, I made two major decisions: (1) Never try to coaxa clueless CEO or business owner to blog. (2) Don't waste very much time defending the blogosphere against MSM journalist trolls, or blog-hating blogger trolls.

"But I want to engage in blogocombat with them, just for fun and as a learning experience," you proclaim.

Okay. Then, if you insist on dueling with journalists and blogopathic losers, I'll at least give you some tips, to help you win this futile and silly fight. These facts are usually not factored into the spurious "ROI analysis" of business blogging.

8 Secret Truths About Blogs

(1) Blogs generate massive SEO (search engine optimization) results, due to frequent, relevant, naturally occuring (not spamdexing) keyword density, and other bloggers linking to a blog.

Many ecommerce and corporate websites don't even have a News page, or don't update it with proper content.

(2) Blogs are more credible, and linked to more often, when they trash the "sticky" business model (keep visitors on your site and don't make it easy for them to leave to visit other sites), and go "viral" by linking to external sites (other relevant blogs).

MSM news sites generally never link to any external sites.

(3) Blogs improve the thinking, writing, researching, debating, and networking skills of the blogger.

(4) The blogosphere is auto-correcting, self-policing. If you post crap, nobody will quote you or link to you. Even worse, blog buzz will spread the word that you're useless, and you'll find some ugly results when you Google your name or blog title.

(5) In today's digital reality, if you don't have a blog, you don't exist.

Blogless anonymous trolls are ignored because they lack credibility. Smart bloggers refuse to publish anonymous comments, because reciprocity is not possible (you can't post a harsh comment on a blogless troll's blog, in retaliation for their harsh comment on yours: they're cowards).

(6) Blogs boost your credibility.

CEOs without blogs seem more distant, aloof, arrogant, and unapproachable than CEOs who share their thoughts and feelings in a blog. CEO bloggers make their company seem open to both positive and negative feedback, suggestions, questions, and customer opinions.

(7) Blogging is an effective method for making real friends, increasing sales, and forming associations with colleagues and peers.

The blogosphere has become a communication and networking tool that all business people should use. By posting valuable content on your blog, and posting valuable comments on the blogs of others, you establish an online reputation.

If none of these points tip the balance of the debate in your favor, just say "Dan Rather" and move on.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

using social media to bash social media

You've probably seen them. The anti-Cluetrain trolls. The web-enabled enemies of the web revolution.

I mean: people who use blogs, Twitter, and social attack blogs, Twitter, and social networks.

They're using social media to bash social media. In doing so, they hypocritically contradict themselves. Their actions prove that they really do believe in social media. They're just as addicted as everyone else. A deep sense of shame and self-loathing is what motivates them.

Hating their attraction to blogs, and despising the free expression they find on blogs, these simpletons attempt to post mocking comments on other people's blogs. Why don't they just start their own blog, and express their opinions on it, linking to other like-minded bloggers?

They sometimes start a half-hearted blog, often with a disclaimer like: "I don't really have time to blog, I'm so busy playing violent immoral video games and accumulating worthless materialistic trinkets. So don't expect me to update this thing very often".

So the internet trolls may start a blog, but it fizzles out quickly. They prefer to attack other bloggers, in a cowardly, anonymous manner.

Then again, some trolls will start a blog, and keep it going, in a futile attempt to spread their hatred of blogs, social media, democracy, and free expression.

A famous team troll, which I shall not name or link to, but has the initials A.C. (email me and I'll give you the link) supports hierarchy, oligarchy, and opera. They (pretending to be a sexy female) fight against blogs and "internet tribes", because they prefer Business As Usual, the old command and control mentality.

They miss the good old days when corporations, mass media, and governments controlled the "message". Social media bashers don't like the fact that people are advising each other in peer-to-peer networks and forums. Blog haters are angry that tyrannical one-way broadcast media are being replaced by multi-voiced conversational marketing.

It's funny, really. These trolls are so void of self-awareness, they actually think they are damaging or impeding the spread of free expression and social media. I suppose they assume that they're infiltrating their enemy's territory. But all they actually do is look uneducated and petty.

But we're winning.

According to IT News, "IP Traffic to Double Every Two Years", Cisco predicts that internet traffic volumes will reach 552 exobytes by 2012! Imagine that. It's unprecedented, this growth of uncensored, unedited voices of individuals and smart organizations. This traffic explosion is being fueled by social networks, YouTube, and video-conferencing.

Learn more about internet trolls here:

The Matrix Online Troll Guide: The Return

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

3 tips for video commercials

If you use video commercials to promote products, be sure to keep in mind these tips:

(1) Show the product or client in use, solving a problem for a user.

NOT just "show the product".

NOT just "show the product in use".

NOT "show happy people fondling or dancing around the product".

NOT "show yourself talking about the product".

NOT "show a customer raving about the product".

NOT "show the client talking about his product or services".

NOT "show other authorities raving about the client or product".

NOT "show employees raving about the product, customers, or service".

(2) Imaginatively dramatize the product's Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Demonstrate and prove visually what it is that makes this product different, better, easier, faster, sturdier, more fashionable, more cost-effective, more affordable, more in keeping with the user's self-image or lifestyle.

Rosser Reeves, in his book Reality in Advertising, p. 46 - 49 defines the USP, a concept developed by Ted Bates & Company in the 1940s and more relevant today than it ever was. A product's USP is a clear and real user benefit, that will appeal to the masses, and that your competitors either have not claimed, or, even better, cannot claim about their product.

Help the customer decide if this product is right for them. Accurately, modestly, and sincerely convey the results your audience wants to achieve: save money, look pretty, lose weight, save time, do something with less effort.

Present the product's distinct features and coveted benefits, but do it in an entertaining, enlightening, and memorable manner.

NOT "repeatedly hype the benefits of the product".

NOT "push people to order the product".

NOT "make emotional, hysterical, high pressure sales points about the product."

NOT "bully people into buying the product".

NOT "trick people into buying the product".

NOT "annoy people with constant sales pitches for the product".

NOT "announce: here's what we offer, how much can we sell you today?"

(3) Have someone interview your engineers or CEO ... focusing on how your product solves customer problems ... that you understand better than your competitors do.

NOT "interview the CEO about how great his or her company is."

NOT "interview the engineer about how much he loves working at your company."

NOT "interview actors who pretend to be satisfied users of your products."

NOT "interview celebrities who pretend to use and love your products."

NOT "interview the CEO about how much he or she loves the products."

NOT "interview colleagues who rave about your company, because you're going to reciprocate and rave about theirs."

9 values of CEO blogging

CEO blogs are a great way to show customers that you're personally interested in them. One of the biggest complaints about CEOs is that they tend to be aloof, arrogant, and unapproachable.

CEOs should be passionate about solving customer problems, leading the industry, and sharing expertise with the public, with no strings attached. In the new digital economy, people expect a company to interact with customers.

In the new digital economy, the old "sell sell sell" is being replaced with "tell tell tell". Every single day, a CEO should have something exciting and relevant to say about customer solutions.

Here are some guiding values of CEO blogging:

(1) Online Community

Are you willing and eager to form candid, sincere relationships with your customers? Do you want your blog readers to evolve into an online community of shared interests and common goals?

Or would you prefer to NOT have to deal with customers and their unpredictable complaints, suggestions, questions, observations, or critiques?

(2) Personal Responsivity

Are you willing to act tuned-into social media and online community -- by replying quickly to comments posted by readers?

Or do you plan on delegating comment perusal to underlings, reading a comment summary report, and responding with a blanket statement to the general topic trend?

(3) Sincere Dedication

(a) Are you willing to be a devoted blogger, which means reading other blogs, posting comments on other blogs, and assembling a list of blogs you like for your sidebar?

Or do you want to just post articles and be done with it?

(b) Are your visionary zeal and leadership going to be reflected in podcasts, photos, sidebar enhancements, RSS/Atom feed syndication, tags, and video-blogging?

Or are you going to do the bare minimum, and have only a plain text blog?

(4) Communication Courage

Are you ready to risk sometimes sometimes making mistakes, posting boring articles, or not having a good answer?

Or do you fear the unpredictable reactions of blog readers and bloggers who quote and link to your posts?

(5) Understanding

Do you really grasp what the blogosphere is all about?

Or do you care nothing about the blog culture, and only seek to exploit the tool to seem hip?

(6) Passionate

Are you really enthusiastic about your industry and how your products benefit customers?

Or are you just a generic administrative type, who could be heading any company?

(7) Transparent

Are you willing to be upfront about your vision, tactics, and agenda? Are you willing to admit mistakes, and explain what you learned from them?

Or do you want to hide from public scrutiny?

(8) Humanized

Are you altruistic, benevolent, selfless, humble, helpful -- and willing to sound relaxed, flawed, slightly awkward, i.e. HUMAN?

Or are just a robotic corporate brochure, without feelings, free from imperfection? Have you no sympathy with mere mortals?

(9) Conversational

Are you willing to all blog readers to interact with you, voice their opinion, challenge your viewpoint, present a contrary opinion, ask you a question?

Or are you aloof, elite, adverse to dialogue? Do you think you can influence people by preaching from a cluelessly lofty pulpit?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vuk Cosic and ASCII Art VIDEO

Vuk Cosic makes the internet fun. He's a pioneer in net art.

If you're a blogger, web designer, digital artist, or revolutionary, you need to be familiar with net art and Vuk Cosic, if only for inspiration and cool ideas that you might be able to adapt and implement.

Wikipedia on Vuk Cosic:


His constantly evolving oeuvre is characterized by an interesting mix of philosophical, political, and conceptual network-related issues on the one hand, and an innovative feeling for contemporary urban and underground aesthetics on the other.

One of the pioneers of, Vuk Cosic became interested in ASCII code during a long period of research (1996-2001) on low-tech aesthetics, the economy, ecology and archaeology of the media, on the intersections between text and computer code, on the use of spaces in information, its fluid nature and infinite convertibility.

Out of this came History of Art for the Blind, ASCII Unreal, ASCII Camera, ASCII Architecture, Deep ASCII and ASCII History of Moving Images, a history of the cinema converted into text format. [2]

A co-founder of Nettime, Syndicate, 7-11, and Ljubljana Digital Media Lab. Most notable venues (commissions, personal and group shows, talks) include, among many others, Videotage, Hong Kong; Media Artlab, Tel Aviv; Venice Biennial; MIT Medialab;Walker Center, Minneapolis; Postmasters, NYC; Kunsthalle, Vienna; LAMoCA, Los Angeles; ICA, London; Beaubourg, Paris.

One of his most recent works is the File Extinguisher, an online service that allows you to delete your files with absolute certainty.


Vuk Cosic and ASCII Art (6:57)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

auto-morphing ecommerce sites

MIT Technology Review has an article on how websites might be more "alive", i.e., interactive, by morphing according to in-the-moment usage by customers.

Web usability is currently determined by watching typical customers use a website, then changing the website later to accommodate future visitors. If certain high priority tasks are difficult for users to accomplish, web designers fix the problem by making the navigation more clear and simple.

What if you could skip that second step? What if the website could redesign itself?

In other words, what if a website automatically adjusted to user behavior, while they actually used it?

"Adapting Websites to Users" (June 9, 2008)

As mentioned earlier, adapting a website according to past behavior on the site, and surveys, is not new. Amazon has pioneered this site personalization approach with great results. What's new is automatic click analysis, whereby a user's mental strategy is analyzed according to what objects are selected as the user navigates the site.

Instead of personalizing the site for your next visit, auto-morphing sites will be personalized as you use it in your current visit.

If you tend to click on photos rather than text, or comparison charts rather than customer reviews, this behavioral data is collected, click by click. How you use the website now, rather than who you are according to past use and questionnaires, is what causes the website to "morph" or change.


The changes would be subtle. "Suddenly, you're finding the website is easy to navigate, more comfortable, and it gives you the information you need," [John] Hauser [professor of marketing at MIT Sloan School of Management] says. The user, he says, shouldn't even realize that the website is personalized.

The researchers built a prototype website for British Telecom, set up to sell broadband plans. The website is designed so that the first few clicks that visitors make are likely to reveal aspects of cognitive style.

For example, the initial page that a user sees lets her choose, among other things, to compare plans using a chart or to interact with a broadband advisor. "You can see that someone who's very analytic is probably more likely to go to 'compare plans' than to the direct advisor," says Hauser. Within about 10 clicks, the system makes a guess at the user's cognitive style and morphs to fit.

"If we determine that you like lots of graphs, you're going to start seeing lots of graphs," he says. "If we determine that you like to get advice from peers, you're going to see lots of advice from peers."

In addition to guessing at each user's cognitive style by analyzing that person's pattern of clicks, the system would track data over time to see which versions of the website work most effectively for which cognitive styles.


Another new wrinkle is auto-morphing an ecommerce site, for it has already been implemented in various education applications.

If this technology succeeds, online shopping could become a new, and more efficient way to quickly find what you want on a complex ecommerce site. In effect, the rich complexity of the site would become invisible, and you'd see only what you need to see.

Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen has said for many years that the main thing a website should do is help the user ignore most of the site, so they could get to what's relevant to their needs. Automatic morphing sites seem like a fulfillment of this goal.

Twitter on CBS News VIDEO

The mainstream media tries to understand and report on microblogging tool Twitter. Along with Jaiku, Pownce, and Plurk, Twitter is used for status updates, link archiving, insight sharing, beta invite distribution, product announcements, SEO, and personal conversations. Messages are 140 characters max.

Those who attack Twitter use the same accusations that were used against blogs: it's trivial, narcissistic, silly, time-wasting, pointless.

Like with blogs, some users Twitter what they had for lunch and other drivel. A common practice has been to Twitter what airport you're in or what tech conference you're attending.

But many users have found Twitter to be a fast, simple, effective way to keep in touch with colleagues and to exchange ideas.

Blogs still tend to be preaching pulpits where one person states an opinion, and readers may be able to post a comment. Twitter, on the other hand, is a rushing river of brevities, a stream of compu-telepathy, dominated by no one.

On Twitter, even an A Lister or other celebrity are just one voice among a vast chorus of other voices.

cyber bullies and blogocombat

Parents and teachers need to prepare children for blogocombat.

I recently watched a news program on television, about a young boy who killed himself because some mean kids at school were calling him "gay" and "sissy boy" in a chat room that the child was addicted to.

Blogocombat, therefore, can be a life or death situation. Lacking strong online debate skills can result in death.

Why would any child be so masochistic, that they would obsessively visit a chat room that was abusive to and victimizing them? To defend themselves? To attempt to answer every new allegation? To try to win people over to his side?

Why don't we ask ourselves what kind of parents and teachers we are?

Why do we shun our responsibility and let our young people run wild in the web, "do anything they want" on the computer, without any supervision, guidelines, or preparation for the evil they are bound to encounter sooner or later?

Young people need to know:

* what a cyber attack looks like

* how to use smilies and emoticons to convey what the words themselves may not make clear

* how to tell a troll comment from a sincere, though troubling, remark

* how to be thick-skinned online and not let typed words hurt their self-esteem

* how to deal with "viral" venom

* how to distinguish playful teasing from hateful flaming

* how to tell playful sarcasm from sadistic abuse

* how to decide whether to fight back, say something funny, or ignore it

* how to deal with a "you suck" or "Johnny B. is gay" web site

* when to tell a parent, teacher, or law enforcement about a web-based attack

* how to defeat online "enemies" by converting them to friends

* how to bounce back from an online hate campaign

* how to post replies to angry critiques, wild accusations, and racial slurs and sexual smears

* how to be self-composed and not unduly affected by external events that are beyond our control.

Have you sat down with your child, grand child, or young friend and explained these urgent matters with them?

How would you handle the points listed above? Do you have experience in blogocombat?

Have you ever confronted someone online, defended yourself, or engaged in debate?

If you stay calm and rational, it can a lot of fun.

Remember: it's not about "winning", it's about discussing a relevant topic and learning about other viewpoints.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sources Quoting Steven E. Streight

Quotes, citations, and published articles by or about Steven E. Streight, web content developer and SEO specialist.

Tom Bierderbeck with Steven Streight
at Thirty-Thirty Coffee, May 5, 2012.

We are exploring options and alternatives to establish a new CILF website.

Steven Streight, a media consultant, is shown here helping us with this project. Steven is demonstrating a talent here that few professionals and consultants truly have ... the skill of LISTENING and seeking to understand the customer's expectations!!!

Image above: Tom Biederbeck, CILF Board Member. — with Steven Edward Streight at Thirty-Thirty Coffee Co.

-- Bill Ordaz, president, CILF - Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation
(May 5, 2012)

Jack Pearl, founder, Pearl Companies
with Steven Streight at Pearl Fall Fest 2012.

InterBusiness Issues (September 2012)

"Radical Upheaval in SEO: Google's Algorithm Updates"

InterBusiness Issues (September 2011)

"30 Tips for Mobile Marketing"

InterBusiness Issues (February 2012)

"10 Tips on Customer Service: Achilles Heel of American Business"

InterBusiness Issues (January 2012)

"Google Plus Invades the Social Media Scene"

InterBusiness Issues (September 2011)

"30 Tips for Mobile Marketing"

InterBusiness Issues (February 2011)

"SEO Tips to Increase Your Website Traffic"

InterBusiness Issues (October 2010)

"12 Tips for Creating Business Blog Content"

InterBusiness Issues (September 2008)

"Web Usability Testing"

InterBusiness Issues (November 2007)

"Business Blogs as Marketing Tools"

InterBusiness Issues (October 2007)

"Social Networking Tips for Business"

PBS Media Shift (February 26, 2007)

"Community is Key to Participation in Citizen Media"

Naked Conversations:
How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers

by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (John Wiley and Sons, 2006)

Quoted and cited as helping them with the book's content and title.

US News and World Report

50 Ways to Improve Your Life:
Start Your Own Blog


The Importance of Taglines

The blogosphere is not credible?

Society for Technical Communication
Usability Interface Newsletter

User Observation Testing: Forms & Procedures

Better Communication Results (Lee Hopkins)

"The regrettable Amanda Chapel imbroglio"

Jason Calacanis
Entrepreneur in Action at Sequoia Capital, co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., and GM of Netscape.

"Feedback on My Linkbaiting Rules"

"#2: Vaspers the Grate--a blog I read all the time--also has some really interesting thoughts on linkbaiting." - Jason Calacanis

CEO Blog – Time Leadership
Jim Estill, CEO, Synnex Canada ($3 billion company)

CEO Blogs and CEO Blogging

Art and Society Magazine (May-June 2008)

"River City Cycling"

Doc Searls Weblog (pioneer tech blogger)

The Grate of a Thankful Nation
(re: my Blog History Timeline)

Where 0.1

All the news that’s fit to annotate

John C. Dvorak

(PC Magazine, CBS MarketWatch, Dvorak Uncensored)

Wall Street Journal Still in the Dark About Blogs

Consumer Reports WebWatch

Websites that are pledged to uphold credibility guidelines.

Listed as Streight Site Systems.

Evan Williams (EvHead, Blogger, Odeo, Twitter)

"Measuring Blog Impact

Darren Rowse (Pro Blogger)

Writing Effective Post Titles

Katherine Stone (Decent Marketing)

"Don’t Worry, Be Crappy?"

Dave Taylor (Intuitive Life Business Blog)

What makes a successful blog?

Satish Talim

(Appliblog: Applied Software & Technology)

8 ways to decide what to blog about next

Jennifer Rice (What's Your Brand Mantra)

Not Worthy

Debbie Weil (BlogWrite for CEOs)

What makes a successful blog?

Grayson aka SpaceyG
on MediaShift / PBS

"Doing More Than Just Twittering Our Lives Away"

Everywhere I go, there's Vaspers The Grate! He runs Twitter Farm with a bizarro, techno-guru, velvet glove. Love the dude. Love him.

Steven Streight with Brian Fox Ellis
on September 21, 2012.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

social media tactics

New to social media? Not sure how to interact with social networks? Wondering what to do, and what to avoid doing? Thinking about how to market products without annoying hype?

Then you should check out the fantastic conversation on my new favorite blog: Dosh Dosh. This high quality blog is the first blog that I've commented on extensively as Pluperfecter. You'll see my pluperfection strategy (i.e., joyfully helping others) in action there.

Bookmark Dosh Dosh as a favorite blog, and you'll get!

"Developing Tactical Knowledge on Social Media Websites"

Friday, June 6, 2008

7 characteristics of blog comment spam

Some companies will pay bloggers and comment posters to say nice things about their products, and bad things about competitors.

Don't fall for it. Paid opinion blogging, and compensated blog comments, are counter-productive. Coached comments and mercenary blog posts are obviously insincere. Nobody believes incentivized remarks.

There are some clues that betray the fact that a remark is not genuine.

If someone's being paid to praise or attack something, they'll usually sound unnatural, non-contextual, and contrived.

Pretending, for some kind of pay, to be a satisfied customer, or a disgruntled user, is unethical. It the peer-to-peer recommendation system of the Trust Web. People visit blogs and forums in hopes of finding genuine reactions to various products and ideas, not subtle attack ads or sly promotions.

Here's a real life example.

The following comment was in my moderation box. Blogger notifies me via email when a new comment has come in for my approval. Comment moderation (reject or publish a comment) enables me to filter out commercial spam and to thwart abusive trolls.

I'm not censoring anybody, just blocking the spambots and the PayPerPost frauds.

This comment exemplifies the...

7 Characteristics of
Blog Comment Spam

(1) Anonymous
(2) Flattering
(3) Irrelevant
(4) Tangential
(5) Promotional
(6) Amateur
(7) Linked

Now here's the comment spam.


Hey buddy! Nice blog that you maintain here.. I just chanced upon your blog as I was surfing the blogosphere. I was thinking.. you could try out some interesting widgets on your page and spice it up with some great pictures. E.g try out the poster widget on [-- URL deleted --] with your relevant keywords. It has some of the best images i have ever seen.


Spam analysis:

(1) Anonymous: no name, no web site URL embedded in a signature, thus no way to verify who this is.

(2) Flattering: "Hey buddy", not even using "Vaspers" or "Steven". This makes me think it's an automated program, a "spambot", that tried to post this bogus "comment".

Since I don't use a "captcha" (character recognition, human-verification device) to block spambots.

[NOTE: I quit using a captcha, because it's often hard for real humans to see what letters or numbers are displayed. Jim Estill, CEO blogger, gave me this anti-captcha, pro-moderation advice.]

(3) Irrelevant: No indication that the comment poster read any of my blog, or the specific post they are trying to attach the comment to. Not even an attempt to fit the remark in with the topic of the post or the theme of my blog. A dead give-away.

(4) Tangential: Not only is the comment not pertinent to the discussion, but it goes off on a tangent. This is called "thread-jacking": hijacking, or subverting, the "thread" of the conversation. In this case, the topic "widgets" is introduced.

(5) Promotional: Having brought up an irrelevant topic, the comment is promoting a web site that pertains, not to my specific post or blog theme, but to whatever some company is promoting. In this case, it seems to be "pictures" and "poster widgets".

(6) Amateur: The anonymous, probably non-human, comment poster is unprofessional. I have widgets in my blog, but "he" doesn't even acknowledge it. In fact, he seems to be blind. He could have at least said "I noticed you have a few widgets already, but have you checked out (blah blah blah)."

(7) Linked: Nearly every spam comment will link to a site that is selling something, or seeking to increase traffic and clicks to ads displayed on the site.

The reason this comment fails to use my name, and fails to be relevant to the specific post, is because the human or spambot who is attempting to use my blog as a free advertising bulletin board, is: this comment is generic, and designed to be posted at a variety of blogs.

Comment spam is similar to email spam. You did not request information from the company, the company is irrelevant to your needs, the message is generic, and the spam is intrusive, disruptive, and time-wasting.

Delete all such generic, anonymous, boiler-plate comments.

The links may lead to malicious, Trojan or spyware-attaching sites. Protect your blog visitors. Keep your site clean from blog spam pollutions.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Blip is the Twitter of music

Just a brief note to announce a discovery: Blip.

It's like a blend of Twitter and

While Twitter asks "What are you doing?", Blip asks "What are you listening to?" You can type in an artist, and you get a selection of songs. Click on a song, add a comment, then blip it.

So far, after just about an hour of experimenting with this new social network site, I find it to be one of the most usable and sophisticated tools I've ever encountered. I was able to quickly start a page for my own music, The Str8 Sounds, and upload mp3s.

All functionalities are quick, easy, and intuitive. A wonderful interface. It's fun to listen to the songs, by my own Str8 Sounds and other bands, that I have blipped.

Check out Pluperfecter on Blip, with Str8 Sounds mp3s. I've also blipped songs by some other artists I like.

end of face to face communications?

Due to soaring gas prices, the airline, trucking, and many other businesses are suffering huge losses and insecurity. Some city governments are advocating 4 day work weeks and 10 hour work days, to save commuting expenses.

As we drastically reduce business travel by airplane and automobile, the question naturally arises: just how important is face to face communications. I say it's rapidly becoming an extravagant expense, and basically irrelevant.

I'm not diminishing the "power of face to face communications" in all situations. I'm saying: you can no longer rely on them as much as you used to. You can no longer afford to engage in as much of it.

Whether you like it or not, physical presencing is rapidly being marginalized by telepresencing and other web-enabled and telecommunications tools.

Face to face communications are responsible for unsavory business practices, like con jobs and fraud. Interpersonal hypnosis and suggestology are strengthened in face to face communication. Many unscrupulous sales people have mastered the art of face to face manipulation of customers. Charisma and schmoozing have accounted for a lot of bad purchases, business associations, and hiring acts.

Basing a financial decision on the personality of a sales person who's physically in front of the victim, and hard to break away from, has caused much grief and loss.

Distance will alleviate a lot of these problems, forcing people to sharpen their written and long distance communication skills. Written material is easier to judge critically. You can take your own sweet time to analyze and respond to them. Sales pressure is greatly reduced. Rationality is increased.

Face to face communications are largely unnecessary thanks to the internet.

Now is the time for business to master live streaming video, video demos, podcasting, VoIP, teleconferencing, blogging, and social media networking. Skilled professionalism in these tools is now moving from peripheral and mission critical and universal.

Face to face communications will continue to be valuable for initial contact.

It's still a good idea to humanize a business relationship with up close and personal conversation. It's deeply ingrained in our nature to trust someone more if you've been in their physical presence. You get visual cues and behavioral insights that are difficult to obtain at a distance. These qualities remain vital and are not going to be usurped by technology very easily.

But watch the trends change in business due to gas prices.

Business As Usual will whine about the demise of old fashioned methodologies. But as I often say, Business As Usual often leads to Business As Over.

Start now to experiment with social media, video, audio, and other emerging technologies. As a student, employee, or corporation, these tools are now your best allies. They're gaining in prevalence and priority over the slower, costlier, less efficient and more cumbersome ways of conducting business.

Get virtual now.

World of Wifecraft

What if marriage could be transformed into a World of Warcraft type video game in the real world? Confused? Watch this, it's pretty funny and true to life.

"World of Wifecraft" (3:17)

12 horrible sales presentation mistakes

I've been to a lot of sales presentations lately, and nearly all of them bore, repulse, or annoy. I mean, I like the people who do the presentations, but their scripted, dry, corporate fluff is difficult to sit through.

It's kind of funny being a sales person and listening to a sales speech from someone else. You feel almost like a spy. You pay more attention to how the product is being pitched, than to what the product is.

Here are some of the most serious errors seen in recent sales presentations by companies trying to sell products and services to business people.

1. Pretending to care about us, but not asking any questions to better understand our business.

2. Making self-centered proclamations like "We're really excited about this new program" or "We're so happy to offer you these fine services". Who cares if they're excited or happy? That's totally irrelevant to us. They're certainly not making us excited or happy.

3. Vague testimonials from anonymous customers, but no real tangible benefits cited, no direct and proven connection between the product and increased sales, or whatever result the product supposedly provides.

4. No interaction between sales presenter and audience, just a pulpit pounding lecture, a list of heads, subheads, and bullet points -- through which sheer aggressive force of words, argument, and enthusiasm are expected to get us to open our wallets and give them our cash.

5. Presenting the material from the company's point of view, rather than basing it on the specific needs and interests of the audience.

6. Using a Power Point slide show as visual reinforcement of salient aspects of the speech, when all Power Point does is put people to sleep and distract the audience from what the presenter is saying.

7. Focusing too much on the history, credentials, and technology of the company, with no indication of how the whole mess translates into any benefits to the audience, aside from "benefit from our 30 years experience in the business of blah blah blah" which means nothing.

8. Assuming you can preach a sales sermon to a drowsy, captive, passive audience, then expect them to take a decisive action from that state of apathy and lethargy.

9. Trying pathetically hard to present the product, without making any effort to find out if the audience and the product would be a good fit.

10. Failing to provide any valuable, relevant, useful educational material that will be treasured by the audience and kept as a constant reminder of the company'a expertise and as a generator of good will.

11. Assuming that if they "polish" the superficial aspects of the presentation, and throw enough "information" at an audience, they're bound to get some sales out of it.

12. Asking, at the end of the presentation, if anybody has any questions, after the audience has been clobbered with a boring speech. Questions? The only one that comes to mind is "Where's the nearest exit?"