Wednesday, December 30, 2009

3 huge mistakes corporations make on Twitter

(1) Having a list of Links to Social Media Sites, but the Twitter logo is linked to the main Twitter home page, instead of their specific corporate Twitter account profile page.

WHY IT'S WRONG: People don't want to visit the Twitter home page, they want to visit the corporation's Twitter page, and perhaps Follow it. Often the Twitter account name of an organization is not intuitive. A company called XYZ might use "XYZDave" or "SpreadXYZ", not just the name of the company. Linking to Twitter's home page makes you look inept, amateur, disorganized.

(2) Putting the list of Links to Social Media Sites at the bottom of the corporate website home page, instead of up near the top so everyone can see it.

WHY IT'S WRONG: People are flocking to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social networks. By burying your social media links, putting them at the bottom of your corporate home page, many people will not see these links. Web users are in a hurry, distracted, multi-tasking, and not reading websites carefully. They skim, scan, and skip content that's not immediately relevant or sufficiently interesting. Often, they don't even scroll all the way to the bottom of a home page.

(3) Having only a Company XYZ News account on Twitter, perhaps with an email contact in their profile bio, rather than having an additional Company XYZ Support account on Twitter, so people can quickly contact them with problems, suggestions, questions, and other input.

WHY IT'S WRONG: News is somewhat self-centered, and while many customers are interested in your company's news items, many of them also want to contact you. Twitter news profiles generally don't Follow other Twitter users, nor do they tend to interact with them, so it's just another unilateral, one-way communication medium, violating web norms and social media expectations. Smart companies use Twitter for more than just news, like Comcast, they create a separate Twitter account for Support.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Iranian Cyber Army hacks Twitter

This is really funny. Some losers, claiming to be from a tyrannical and decaying regime, called Iran, hacked into Twitter. They replaced its interface page, for a brief time yesterday, with a poorly written message, but all I have to say is:

"Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein! Hezbollah is doomed. Total victory for Iran rebels and Mir Hossein Mousavi."

Nobody is afraid of tyrants. No one pays attention to totalitarian authorities. All wicked rulers shall fall, all sacred scriptures agree: oppression shall be destroyed completely. Karma cannot be avoided. Truth and Integrity shall preside over the world.

Here is the foolish, awkwardly worded message from the cyber bullies of illegitimate Iran regime:

Iranian Cyber Army



U.S.A. Think They Controlling And Managing Internet By Their Access, But They Don’t, We Control And Manage Internet By Our Power, So Do Not Try To Stimulation Iranian Peoples To….


Take Care.

Oh don't worry...we freedom-loving people and noble anarchists shall take great care to see you vanish from reality. You are already defeated for you are corrupt. Your power is only to laugh at, for the whole world to despise and mock you forever and ever, amen.

Twitter is against you. The Internet is against you. USA is against you. Democracy is against you. Liberty is against you. Anarchy is against you. Islam is against you. Christianity is against you. Buddhism is against you. Atheism is against you. Revolution is against you. You are done.

According to a CNN report, Twitter became so fundamental in spreading news of the protests that followed that the U.S. State Department asked the company to delay a planned shutdown for maintenance.

According to the Christian Science Monitor "Twitter Hacked":


Twitter on Friday stated that its domain name records “were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed.”

Twitter attack came as opposition prepared for showdown with government.

The attack on Twitter coincided with the start of the holy month of Moharram in Iran, during which, for 10 days, Shiite Muslims mourn the martyrdom in 680 of one of their most hallowed saints, Imam Hossein.

The green flag on the “Cyber Army” page shows the words “Ya Hossein,” with lettering at the top which reads “Hezbollah [Party of God] is victorious.”

The “Cyber Army” page has been appearing for several days on hacked websites of Iran’s opposition, which has for more than six months vigorously protested on the streets and in cyberspace what it considers to be the fraudulent reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June.

The Twitter attack, though also a warning directed toward the US, could be among the first moves to thwart opposition activists preparing for a further showdown with the government during the coming religious holiday. During the holiday, Iranians traditionally take to the streets to march, chanting slogans for Hossein’s memory. The commemoration peaks on the day of Ashoura, which marks the day of Hossein’s death.


Also see my previous posts on Free Iran:

"20 Philosophical Notes on Iran Revolution 2009"

"Twitter, Iran, and Citizen Intelligence Agents"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Content is Slave, not King

Contrary to popular myth, Content is NOT "King." Completely dependent on other factors, Content is actually...a Slave.

Many times, not only is Content not King, but Content poses as a Drag Queen -- something prancing around, dancing as corporations pull its strings, pretending to be something it's not.

Content cannot be King. Dethroned, or better, usurped by Connectivity, Presentation, and Interactivity, Content is low man on the totem pole.

Often, people search for pure Content, like movies, music, news and opinions. But even then, if the content is poorly organized, badly displayed, hard to navigate, or non-interactive, it will be ignored.

Many times, when someone is consuming content they enjoy or find valuable, their first impulse is to interact with it. They want to post a comment, a question, a praise or a complaint. Some may want to enrich the content, add their own view, amplify or criticize it.

Content, to be effective and valuable, is entirely reliant upon other factors. Content is extremely important, but is not the ultimate, universally dominant entity.

To call Content a "king" is to revert to old fashioned imperialistic, phallocentric, male-dominated hierarchy. Even worse, "Content is King" is a meaningless mantra that people chant, without being able to explain it.

It almost goes without saying: fancy flashy packaging or presentation with poor content is going to fail. But even the world's best content, all by itself, just sits there, isolated, accomplishing nothing, attracting nobody.

One thing many business owners don't understand, when it comes to websites, is how important Content is. Sometimes they even think the web designer just "makes it up" for them. "I have to provide content for my site?" they say with a disappointed look on their face. "What kind?"

But to dump a bunch of Content into a website is not nearly enough. The hard part, or fun part (depending on how you look at it) is to keep adding fresh, relevant, updated Content. That's what search engines and consumers want.

Some say "all things being equal, good content beats bad or no content". But we could also say "Packaging is King" because nice, attractive packaging will be more compelling than ugly or no packaging.

Calling one element "king" allows people to get away with slighting other elements. A clueless corporate person might say, "I don't know why nobody visits our website. It's loaded with great content!"

Perhaps it's because your highly exalted Content is missing the synergists that make it complete. Things like Presentation, Understandability, Substantiating Links to Reputable Sources, Findability, Relevance, Timeliness, Update Frequency, Context, Usability and Navigation Ease.

If there is a "King" on the web, it's Connectivity. Caring and Sharing. Interactivity. But not Content, especially not the pre-packaged, corporate kind that comes in the form of broadcast homogeneity.

People care more about trivial but personal communication than they do about the "content" of professional hucksters like Big Entertainment, Big Advertising, Big Government, Big Religion, and even Big Sports.

Hit rewind.

Now that we've disrupted the mantra, dislodged the parroted mindset, let's back up a bit. Before we can decide if Content is King, Queen, Court Jester, Serf, or Villain, let's define what people generally mean by "Content".


What is content? This word derives from the Latin "contentum," which means "that which is contained," but this derivation is not very descriptive.

There is no precise definition, but generally content is used to denote material prepared by professionals to be used by large numbers of people, material such as books, newspapers, movies, or sports events. That is the sense in which it is used in this work. In general, content is distributed by "mass" or "broadcast" communications systems.


In this work I do not classify information services such as weather, directory assistance and airline schedules as content.

Many of the standard phone calls access just such services, and the Internet is leading to increasing usage of them. I also do not classify most of e-commerce as content.

Somebody going to the Godiva Web site may be exposed to creative work in the ads flashed on the screen, but is interested in purchasing a tangible good. These types of interactions will flourish on the Internet, and some will be merging with content, but they are more typical of the standard point-to-point communications.

-- "Content is Not King" by Andrew Odlyzko


While corporations, media, and other organizations try to hype their fabricated, often deceptive or over-priced Professional Content, consumers are sharing their own home-made, so-called Amateur Content.

From music and videos to photos and text, Do It Yourself Content is making Professional Content providers jealous. They want to go back to the good old days when the public was a passive, easily influenced group of spectators and consumers.

Perfect example is the telephone.

When it was first invented, Alexander Graham Bell thought it would deliver Content, not intimate connections between people. "Useless chit-chat" was discouraged and mocked, even as some still poke fun at the "triviality" of blogs and Twitter.

Take the post office as an illustration of Content vs. Connectivity or Professional Content vs. Do It Yourself Content.

The US government believed the main benefit of mail would be delivery of newspapers, a Content-rich medium. While newspapers did outweigh personal letters in pure data, people valued the mail system as a means to communicate with each other. Propaganda and mass entertainment were a distant second.

Those who keep shouting "Content is King!" often conceal a greedy agenda.

They typically mean "User Generated Content is Amateur Crap! Long Live Professional Content!" Or they want unpaid users to fill their social media site with Content, so they can put ads all over it and use the amateur content to lure search engines and paying customers.

They want to turn the internet into a broadcast medium. They see social media as comprised of sitting ducks, low hanging fruit, dumb chumps they can bombard with ads and seduce into buying their junk.

You, as a blogger, Twitter user, or website owner, need good Content, that's for sure. But if that's all you've got, if you don't pay adequate attention to the other factors that make Content valuable and easy to search, use, and share, you're doomed to fail.

Content is Slave...but it's a good, hard-working slave if it's under the right Task Masters!

Tiger Woods and Public Shame

Tiger Woods was a great golfer. He also promoted himself as a clean, decent family man. Sponsors paid millions of dollars to have him represent their products. Combining sports star power with the image of a loyal husband and loving father, who could beat that?

Now we know that this Tiger Woods, like many celebrities, politicians, and leaders, was corrupt beneath the carefully crafted surface. Even if you don't believe in monogamy and marital fidelity, you have to think of the children.

Even if you think adultery is no big deal, if Tiger Woods had unprotected sex, as some mistresses claim, then you must also think about disease. If he got AIDS or some other terrible venereal disease, and passed it on to his wife, then Tiger Woods is a criminal, perhaps a murderer.

Those who worship celebrities hate to hear harsh assessments of those they idolize. They will support their idol, no matter how vile and evil they may be. Star lovers get angry when you insinuate that they've been worshiping a scumbag.

I've even heard, on Twitter, "what about the whores who disrespected golf by having sex with Tiger Woods?", which is the most ridiculous statement yet. But it's creepy when Tiger Woods fans show no sympathy for his wife and children, not to mention the sponsors who are now embarrassed and disgusted.

Phallocentric. That means "giving privilege to the male as the dominant gender in all aspects of life", which is absurd. Patriarchy. That means "male elders ruling over everyone else". For too long this phallocentric patriarchal society has demeaned women and children. We see it in our factories, offices, and courts.

Crimes against women and children, by soldiers, serial killers, molesters, and rapists, are typically not treated as seriously as crimes against men, especially if they're white and rich. Now the tide is turning.

Fortunately, the betrayed women are starting to wise up, wielding weapons, re-writing pre-nuptial agreements, and removing their wedding rings. It's so refreshing to watch the downtrodden wake up and assert their rights.

The stupid "stand by your man" days are over. Women are rising up and taking their lives into their own hands. No longer intimidated or overshadowed by the male, females are becoming more powerful and self-confident.

Tiger Woods is losing his sponsors, and may lose his wife and family. Divorce? He's lucky his wife didn't castrate him and sell his loathsome dangler on Ebay. I think it was alcohol, and maybe Viagra, that fueled his infidelity. Maybe if Tiger Woods just smoked pot, he would have stayed home listening to music.

While we should not kick a person when they're down, we do need the spotlight to shine brightly on a celebrity's errors, as a warning to others, and to de-idolize the frail human being. We should want all un-repented, un-amended sins of leaders and celebrities to be exposed and publicized. Public figures are under scrutiny and deserve to have their lifestyles analyzed. That's part of being famous, like it or not.

It's funny how celebrities demand adoration and attention, until they screw up. Then they whine about privacy and stress. You can't turn scrutiny on and off at your own whim. It's like Attention Karma, the more you seek good attention, the more you'll get bad attention when it's deserved, due to your own behavior.

"What is done in darkness shall be dragged out into the light."

The very fact that unseemly things are done in secret, albeit recklessly, is enough to condemn you. You're ashamed of what you're doing, you don't want your sponsors or fans or family to find out. But you keep doing it, with no regrets or bad conscience...until you get caught.

Once caught, the celebrity acts all contrite, sorrowful, and apologetic. "I've disgraced my family," they moan with a hurt look on their face. We're supposed to forgive and forget, act like it never happened, and show love and support for the scumbag. Even when their "repentance" seems fake and opportunistic.

Why so harsh? Because it always seems like they don't really regret their behavior. What they regret is getting caught. You can hear it in their tone of voice and carefully scripted confessions of remorse.

Politicians often won't even resign, they insist on maintaining their position of dignity and trust, even when they've betrayed that trust and soiled that dignity. They grasp at the power they revel in, and they desperately need the money.

Enough of idolatry! Down with celebrity, up with you and me! End of stardom, rise of everyone! Hierarchy and privileged classes be damned!

Tiger Woods, may you get the karmic reward you so richly deserve, and may you and all your celebrity buddies come to true repentance, an authentic change of heart and transformation of soul.

Until then, rot in your own foul nature.

Vaspers Twitter Poem for Tiger Woods:

What you did, you tried to do discreetly.
But life and wife shall punish thee sweetly.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3 Sins Christian Pastors Never Preach Against

To listen to today's Christian leaders, pastors, and televangelists, you'd think the only sins are gay marriage and abortion. Oh sure, once in a while you'll hear a sermon that mentions divorce, political liberalism, Communism, or pornography.

But the major themes of the Bible are completely ignored.

They don't want to "offend" anyone and lose their financial contributions.

Here are 3 things that the Bible calls extremely evil. Chances are, your church avoids teaching against these, due to their own brand of political correctness, which I refer to as "ecclesiastical correctness".

In the final analysis, the materialistic American church is all about collection plates and membership growth.

(1) WAR

To proclaim the sanctity of "family values", then send your children off to kill whoever your government tells you to kill, is hypocrisy. In the Old Testament, pagan parents sacrificed their children on the altar of Molech. Today, it's the altar of Extreme Militarism. You can't serve God and Molech. You can't be Pro Life and Pro War.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. [Thus, cursed are the warmongers, for they will be called sons of Satan.]

Matthew 26:52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword."

Matthew 5: 38, 39 You have heard that it was said, "Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth." But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.


Preach against the corporations, banks, and government bureaucracies that exploit or ignore the poor? Not a chance!

The malicious greed of CEOs, bloated compensation, golden parachutes (hush money), credit card companies, mega-banks, federal deficits, over-taxation, bailouts, failed stimulus packages, Wall Street swindlers...all these topics are off-limits to most clergy and churches.

Psalm 12:5 “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the Lord. "I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”

Psalm 10:2, 3 The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord.

Psalm 82:3, 4 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.

Ecclesiastes 4:1 I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, but they have no comforter. On the side of the oppressors there is power, but the victims are helpless.

James 2:5-7 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?


The kids in Sunday school are into Harry Potter, but if the pastor preaches against the occult, the parents will be upset. It's a divisive issue. The adults might decide to leave the offensive church and share their tithes with one more tolerant of black magic. So the churches tolerate films and games and books based on sorcery, spells, and demonic powers.

Leviticus 19:26, 31 Do not practice fortune-telling or witchcraft. Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead. I am the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 18:10-14 Never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead.

Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things.

Revelation 21:8 But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars, their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Friday, December 11, 2009

call in sick without speaking with text to speech processor

Got laryngitis, it's painful to try to speak, but you have to call in sick to work? No problem. Just use the AT&T Labs Text-To-Speech processor. The official name for it is

Natural Voices® Text-to-Speech Demo

Here's how to convert your text to voice, to call in sick to work, without speaking:

(1) Type in your message (300 character limit).

(2) Select the voice you want to represent you:

* language (US or UK English, or Spanish, French, German)

* male or female (Crystal, Mike, Rich, Lauren, Charles, etc.)

(3) Click on Speak. A WAV file will be generated and your QuickTime audio player will play it.

(4) Adjust the volume by playing the recording a few times.

(5) Call your boss at work, and when he or someone answers, play the recording, with your computer speaker up close to the telephone receiver. Play it 2 or 3 times, to make sure the message is received.

EXAMPLE: "This is Steven Streight. I have swine flu with severe laryngitis. Painful to speak. I'm using a Text-To-Speech processor to deliver this message. I can't make it in to work today. Thank you."

I actually used this today to call in sick.

It used to be possible to type in a comment on a YouTube video, then, before posting the comment, you could click on Play Audio of Comment, and some widget would convert your message to speech.

I guess they no longer offer this service, but I used it to create an entire parody video of a Jean Baudrillard interview "Jean Baudrillard - Cultural Identity and Politics - 2002 1/8":

Streight interview Twitter - Fundamental Misgivings

Restrictions On Use Of Audio

This page is for demonstration purposes only.

See the FAQ for full policy details.

-- Audio samples are for private, non-commercial use. Publication and distribution require licensing. The restrictions are the same for non-commercial use as for commercial use.

-- Exceptions for limited private use are described in the FAQ under Usage Policy. Information about licensing and sales can be found in the FAQ under How To Buy.

-- Input text is logged. It is treated as private customer data and is handled according to AT&T's Privacy Policy. Note that AT&T will cooperate fully with law enforcement.

Monday, December 7, 2009

8 Common Homepage Mistakes

A website's homepage is the first thing a person sees when they visit your site.

This is obvious, but many homepages contain mistakes, or leave things out. As customers do more shopping online, and do internet searches to find information, your homepage is becoming more vital for business survival.

Errors and deficiencies on homepages are easily corrected, once you identify what can be improved or added.

Here are some Common Website Mistakes:

(1) No photo of CEO/Owner.

Showing your face is not a matter of vanity. It's all about humanizing your business, making it more personal and friendly. A homepage with no picture of the President, CEO, Owner, or Founder seems cold, bleak, even unaccountable.

You'll increase good will, personal warmth, and credibility for your homepage by displaying a nice photo of the primary spokesperson of your company. This photo will instantly convey authenticity, a person who is in charge, whose reputation is on the line.

People like to do business with people they can see and relate to. Select your photo carefully. Look approachable, charming, professional, smart, kind.

(2) Clutter.

Trying to display too many items on the homepage can cause all of them to disappear, lost in chaos. Instead, show the most customer-relevant items and functionalities. Then group the secondary items under headings that make sense to customers, in words they typically use to talk about the topics, and make top navigation bar links to these categories.

(3) Hard to read.

Be especially careful about the color of your text and the background colors. Medium gray text on light gray backgrounds is difficult to read, for example. Gradients, where a color fades from top to bottom, can sometimes reduce readability.

Your website visitors are always in a hurry, or multi-tasking, or otherwise distracted. Don't assume they're devoting total attention to your website. Make it easy to scan quickly, so customers can readily find the information they need, and can ignore what's not relevant to them at that moment.

(4) Drop down menu About links.

Even if you feel you must sub-divide your About page, don't make your customers choose categories from a drop down menu. It seems minor, but any extra complexity can cause frustration to customers.

Your About page link should be a single item that takes them to a page where you explain who you are, what you offer, and how customers can benefit. Then, on the main About page, you can display links that focus more on each separate item, like Personnel, History, and Employment.

(5) Hiding Contact page in About.

While it's good to have Contact information in your About page, you should display a separate Contact link in your navigation bar on the homepage. Again, we must keep in mind how customers are in a hurry.

You want customers to contact you. And contact is a primary action that customers want to perform. If they don't see a Contact link on the homepage, it could frustrate them, and they may leave your website to visit a competitor.

(6) No tagline or slogan.

People like jingles and statements that sum up what your business is about. You probably have one you're using now. It's part of your identification. So why leave it off your homepage? Customers like to do business with familiar entities.

By adding your slogan, jingle, tagline, or motto, under your logo or business name, your customers will more readily connect with your business. It can be the hook that says, "You already know us. You've heard our commercials for years. You can trust us."

(7) Unfriendly.

Your website is you. It represents your business just like a sales person does. Is your staff aloof and depersonalized? Of course not. Then why should your website homepage look sterile, like a manual or textbook?

The wording should sound like the way normal humans talk. Some trendy companies go so far as to be comical, edgy, or even smart alecky, just to lighten things up a bit. Your homepage should have the feel of a friendly person who enjoys helping people, not a spec sheet with "just the facts ma'am". LOL

(8) Links that disappoint.

If you have a News link on your homepage, fill it with actual news, rather than just a statement about how you'll be featuring news there eventually. If you have a link to a blog, why not state some reason to visit it, some benefit to customers? If you have a Photo Gallery link, be sure to fill it with interesting, educational, or entertaining photos, including recent events, with captions explaining the scene.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Age of the Orator is Over

I hereby paradoxically proclaim, from my exalted pulpit, that the Age of the Orator is officially over. De-throned, debunked, dead.

What killed the idolizing of the golden-tongued orator?

First the web, then blogs, and now Twitter.

All you could do at old fashioned websites was stare at them, read a few things, maybe buy something. No more. Now we expect to post a comment, ask a question, contact the author, add our critique or praise, contribute something to the topic, enrich the discussion with our anecdote or expertise.

The old broadcast model of communication, advertising, and propaganda is dying fast. Democratic formats, where all who wish to say something are enabled to do so, are replacing the authoritarian, command-and-control format.

Twitter is a great example of decentralized discussion.

Nobody dominates the conversations. Someone says something provocative or controversial. Others RT (retweet) the statement, while some respond via @ (replies) and a lively debate results. Or people will add their own insights, examples of what happened to them, or requests for clarification.

We want to join in and participate, not absorb and regurgitate. We don't mind listening to you, if you'll also listen to us.

We demand to assert our own opinions and knowledge in discussions, not keep silent and passively consume lectures. From the President of the United States to televangelists, we're sick of it, all that blabbering, that fancy speech-making that bores us to death and leaves us depleted.

"Shut up and listen to me" is the standard mode of hypnotism, brainwashing, and cult indoctrination. It's being phased out and replaced by free conversational modes, where everybody gets to say something and to respond to what others say.

Oratory no longer moves us.

We aren't motivated, educated, or entertained.

We don't get inspired, excited, or pumped up.

We despise it. We'd rather be anywhere but there, in the auditorium or pew, politely smiling, sporadically clapping because the speaker says something we agree with. We hate being talked at, no matter what the topic may be.

Applause ruins speeches. Clapping and hooting are a barbaric form of minimal interactivity. It can be seen as a sort of "positive heckling". Applause often comes between one important statement and a vital follow-up to that statement, which is why the speaker often has to stop in the middle of the second remark, to allow the cheering to occur.

Applause is a butt-kissing interruption that says, "We approve of that statement and want to show you our approval. We clap to show our support for that idea you just expressed. Your other ideas were okay, maybe, but this one was great, exactly what we wanted to hear! It pleased us. We want you to know that this particular statement is very much part of our belief system. We enjoy hearing things we agree with."

But that leaves in question the statements that are not applauded. Hopefully, the speaker's final remark will result in a standing ovation, the seal of an audience's approval for the entire speech.

Speakers sprinkle easy-to-agree-with statements, composed in "soaring rhetoric", into their speeches, with the express purpose of eliciting some gratifying reactions from the crowd. The clapping and cheering acts as a boost to the speakers fragile self-esteem, it affirms his worth and propels him to keep droning on and on and on.

All an orator usually accomplishes is inflating his ego. Secondarily, he hopes to represent or express what the audience believes or wants to hear. He goes on and on and on, about whatever, while the subdued and docile audience soaks up the information like sponges, goes to sleep, or fidgets in their seats, seeking an escape.

Speeches don't solve problems. Speeches rarely enlighten anyone. We dislike one person getting up and acting like they have all the answers, while we are seekers or students or lemmings seeking leaders to follow like dumb lazy sheep.

If you want to reach people, shut up once in a while and let them say something. Let them interrupt you, heckle you, challenge you, enhance your understanding, and chime in with their own viewpoints.

This democratic, non-hierarchical communication platform is being realized in social media, blogs, and Twitter. It's not an opinion. It's an emerging reality that's usurping the old way of conveying information and achieving a consensus.

Think about how your website, sales staff, conferences, and marketing strategy could be improved by paying attention to this major, profound shift toward interactive communications.