Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lesson in the 3 Conversations of Personal Branding: FREE HUGS

Mitch Joel offered this video as an example of the three conversations of personal branding.

Though you can see how internal communication, one-to-one communication and one-to-many communication are involved in the creation of this video and the creation of this movement. I chose to share this YouTube video as an example of simple social change that one person can impact.

What would the world be like if you could walk up to someone and get a free hug on a bad day or just because you felt like it?

I want to live in that world!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Six Pixels of Separation of Self: Building Your Personal Brand with Mitch Joel

First session I attended, bright and early Saturday morning, was Mitch Joel's talk on personal branding. He compared the idea of a personal brand to toothpaste out of the tube--it's already there, may as well slap some branding on it!

He walked the audience through personal branding in three conversations:
1) internal conversation
2) one-to-one conversation
3) one-to-many conversation.
What's the purpose of these conversations?

We say a lot without saying a lot. You should know your story the same way PR folks are taught to know your brand messaging. When you're out there communicating that story to others, you need to listen more than you talk--think of the difference between advertising and [good] PR, one way versus two way communication. You need connections and community to gauge your brand--your personal brand is more than you, it's how you're perceived.

Six Degrees of Separation?
1) establish yourself as an expert
2) be seen and known as a leader
3) be known as an innovator
4) separate yourself from the competition
5) gain professional stature
6) build your image

Build your brand by investing in yourself and community. It all sounds like self help, but I keep wondering how much of this I would say, slightly differently to a client.

But returning to me--Mitch got me thinking about the huge differences between how I define me and how other people in my life define me.

How do you define you? Just you? Is there one thing you can point to as the most important thing?

Lots to think about!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My First Podcamp--Overview

Today was the final day of Podcamp Boston 2--an unConference for social media types. And I have a lot of thoughts I'd like to share with everyone out there.

I went to a number of great sessions, including Mitch Joel on Building Your Personal Brand, Beth Kanter on measuring social media success, Doug Haslam and Bryan Person on PR in social media, Laura Fitton on presentations and your audience, Neil Gorman gave a session entitled, "Broken Toasters, Will Shatner, And Podcaster Burnot," and finally, there was Isabel Hilborn's "Crappy Web 2.0 Marketing."

I'm planning posts on my reactions to these sessions, but also to the space between these sessions that lead to some pretty interesting conversations too.

However, tonight is game four of the World Series, so my TV is on. And my typing is consequently is my attention...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MySpace Strikes Back: Is Facebook Fazed?

Last week, MySpace got two major media hits for something besides predator scandals. Last week, MySpace got AP and the Wall Street Journal for two unrelated pieces of business news. Interesting, amid the continuing talk of a Facebook buyout.

The first MySpace announcement this week came over a partnership between that News Corp. holding and Skype (AP coverage here). The VP of product development for MySpace emphasized that the internet telephony technology would be fully incorporated into the MySpace experience.

Also in the AP story, but under the Skype news, MySpace signed a licensing agreement with Sony BMG. The agreement will allow for users to include video and music content in their profiles and the two companies will split the ad revenue. This announcement intentionally harkons to the original MySpace idea as a place for bands, though it's got all the spirit of "monetize your web 2.0 content" seminar, with the added bonus of major label quality.

In other MySpace news, Wall Street Journal tells us that games are coming soon (full story here). According to the WSJ piece, causal games accounted for 360 million in revenue last year. No doubt, MySpace is looking to share in the wealth.

Summation and thoughts: With Skype, a music / content deal and games, MySpace is formalizing what the open API did for Facebook. For Facebook, the API enabled users to add fun and greater personalization to their profiles. Personalization has never been lacking from MySpace, but News Corp is working to keep its social network market share and eyeballs for the ads, so it's adding in the fun. Has Facebook noticed the renewed MySpace effort? Perhaps. Will it slow Mr. Zuckerberg down?

Why don't you tell me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Comcast Customer Service: A Mixed Bag

Half a week of frustration and all I got was this lousy modem... Well, the modem works now, after three long-winded customer service calls, a more than an hour long visit to the COMCAST store and five days of waiting.

The frustration from the beginning. It took two days to coordinate an appointment with Comcast and my roommates' very different schedules. Two days of, "well, that could work," "err, I don't want to miss class," and "you know what my work schedule is like..." We finally got this appointment nailed down and everything seemed fine--the man came in, set up the cable and left the self install kit for the internet (modem, install CD, the whole shibang).

Minor problem though-- the Comcast man gave us modem that was still registered to its passed user. Meaning, much to my annoyance, that we couldn't use.

What happened next is where the customer service goes amiss. My roommate, armed with the account number and the modem, calls customer service. The woman on the other end of the phone tells him there's nothing she can do and that he'll have to go somewhere--to a help desk out of range of public transportation.

Comcast screws up so we have to go out of our way to fix it? Real winning customer service from this one.

I called in a day later, irritated by the poor treatment and further aggravated by my lack of that high speed internet I was promised. The man on the other end of the phone sounded slightly delayed, like he wasn't quite following what I was telling him. He walked me through my options--another Comcast man could come out, but that couldn't be before Wednesday, or we could go to that help desk I mentioned.

Again. Comcast screwed up, so I'm the one having to go out of my way to fix it. Strike two.

Next day, another one of my roomies makes way to the help desk (he's got a vespa, so he didn't have to walk). He's got to rush from Comcast to a meeting and asks me to confirm exactly what's involved, so he doesn't waste any of his time.

This time the lady of Comcast refunded a week of high speed internet I hadn't received to my account, without being asked, to make things right. And she went over the whole help desk protocol. Score one for the Comcast lady!

But wait-- Comcast managed to err yet again. Roommate gets to help desk. He waits in line. And he waits in line. He waits for over an hour as the sole attendant in the crowded place tried to up-sell every single person in line.

We finally get the second modem home. And guess what? It doesn't work.

Roommate one tinkers with it for awhile before admitting defeat. So in the end, he's back on the phone with Comcast. This time it's something that can be fixed remotely, some program needed to be put in place. At the end of this call, there's much rejoicing and laughter... You see, this call was on speaker phone with four tired people who desperately wanted the 'net and a Comcast man with a noticeable Canadian accent. We were giggling at everything.

That was the conclusion of the modem trouble. Comcast gets mixed reviews. It would be nice if they could get it right in the first two or three times and not create a greater inconvenience to the customer. Right?

In the end: Yesterday while I was writing this post, I received a call from an unfamiliar Boston number. I wasn't by my phone and there was no message left. I called the number back and discovered it was Joe from Comcast letting me know about some sort of software outage or larger issue in my area. I don't know if it makes me feel better about the whole thing that they called to tell me why. It's nice to know they were paying attention.

But it would be equally nice to not have spent so much time waiting, in line, on the phone and generally for the service in the first place.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Words that Flutter

Saw the link to this image on a friend's Google chat away message and felt it was worth sharing.

It reminded me that I hadn't posted in awhile and that I haven't given much of myself to my blog (and my readers) lately. The nature of blogging is to share words that flutter through your mind...

Words that flutter. Extraordinary.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Google Analytics Finally Works!

Thanks to some help from @mdy on Twitter, Google analytics finally works on this blog.

In case you don't know, analytics allow you to tell how well read your blog is, how many unique pageviews you've had, the average time on the site, etc.

If you're having trouble setting up analytics on your blogger blog, check out this website. It was @mdy 's suggestion, and it made all the difference.

Thank you Twitter, mdy and Andy Wibbels--now this blog has measurement!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Words from the Post-College, Adult Land

Since I started working a real job, I've noticed a new kind of vernacular...

I vaguely recall the booming voice of my dean at the first section of the class that was requirement for all incoming freshman. "And you will learn to speak this new language called adult." He meant we'd stop using the word "like" incorrectly and sound less like a valley-based high school soap.

But there really is an adult world vocabulary and I've decided to start a list of post-college words here:

The third definition from seems most appropriate:
3. power or ability to act or to influence people, events, decisions, etc.; sway: Being the only industry in town gave the company considerable leverage in its union negotiations.
Often times people talk about leveraging things as if to say they're using X experience to get Y result--I mean to say that the goal is as important as the thing being leveraged in adult speak. It makes me feel like I'm playing on a teeter toter.

This definition from seems most relevant:
1. Economics Relating to or involving all stages from production to sale: vertical integration.
But I think people use the word verticals and mean potential business leads in adjacent spaces (not necessarily on the production to sale track). I think of Vertical Horizon, the one hit wonder from when I was in high school.

This word compliments of my friend Josh, who recently graduated from Boston University. Graduating from BU and debt seem to go hand in hand, but debt does seem to be a sickeningly adult phenomenon. The only thing you can incur debt for as a kid is overdue library books... Welcome to life--pay up!

Feel free to add your own in the comments section. I'll add more as I think of them too...