Archives for technology

Google+ making the jump?

Article first published as Google+ Making the Jump? on Technorati.

The big question about Google+ has been will they make it. When a new technology comes out they go through a adoption cycle from inception to worldwide domination. This is called the technology curve. The concept is pretty easy. It starts with innovators who design the product. The early adopters try it out. The early majority bring it into mainstream. Late majority are the ones who pick it up after everyone else has tried it and the laggards are the last people to pick it up. On this curve, there is a little space, a chasm is you will, that is the determining factor as to whether a product makes it or not.  Crossing the chasm is the biggest challenge a new technology faces.

Technology Curve

This is the best technology curve I have yet to see. It made me laugh.

Google+ has been standing on the edge of this cliff for a while now. People keep asking if they are going to successfully make the leap. There is a good chance of it.

Often times landing your jump to the early majority requires the involvement of influential people. Getting someone who has a wide following and who looks to them for guidance on their tech to adapt your technology and then endorse it is like making he jump with a big parachute.

Well, Chris Brogan is often considered one of those people. He is essentially the father of social marketing and has been carving the path for the rest of us for a decade. Many people in social media look to him for trends and guidance. Well, guidance is something Brogan frequently offers. He just recently endorsed Google+ on his blog. He explains how to best use it and tells everyone to go and sign up. He even offers a solution to the “invite only” issue.

With endorsements from people like Brogan, it is very likely that Plus will make the leap and have a safe landing on the other side.

Will Google+ Cross the Chasm?

The Google+ button is everywhere. Reports are saying it is more wide spread than the twitter button. Google just sped up the button by 3 times, so now it will load even faster on all those websites.  But with all these great reports about Google+, is it really holding up?

Many have questioned if it will hold up against Facebook. Facebook is the leader in social networks, however it is not without criticism. The Google+ draw is that it answers some of those criticisms, like privacy. But is that enough?

Reports have been that the users are primarily early adapters, “while important, are not great predictors of the success of a social network.”

Technology Curve: Crossing the Chasm

Early adopters are integral for the adoption of technology. They are the ones that vet the tech and help usher it into the early majority. But the chasm is the challenge. Crossing the chasm is the challenge of any new tech. In fact, tech will live or die depending on if it can make the crossing.

The early majority are the people who will usher a new tech into the main stream. They are the ones who are considered the trend setters and other people follow their lead. But the jump from early adopter to early majority is not easy. Right now Google+ is trying to make the leap.  Though early indications are not hopeful.

Early reports are showing that Google+ visitors are down 3%, or 1.79 million, and the time spent on the site is down 10%.  The time spent on the site being down is a bigger indicator to me than visitors. Google+ is still invite based and many of the early majority will not think to ask for an invite, and the early adopters will like not think to give them. Hence part of the problem with crossing the chasm. But Google can solve that problem easily by opening up registration, which I expect they will do relatively soon.

However, time spent on the site should be going up, especially with more and more people signing up to the site. What this says is that the content on Google+ is not captivating enough to keep people on it. Facebook focused on that when they started, and have maintained the ability to keep people exploring their network. Google+’s inability to do this could be evidence of their lack of experience with social networks.

So the big question: Will Google+ cross the chasm?

Be My Guest (Blogger)!

Guest Sign

Are you welcoming guest bloggers?

This past Friday I was a moderator for the #SMCColumbus chat, which is a social media chat based out of Columbus, OH.  This was a follow-up Twitter chat to the “Getting into Blogging” presentation I did at the Blah Blah Blogging Conference at Tech Columbus..

Guest posting was one of the big issues we discussed.  Ever since I began bringing in guest bloggers to the Blog Cubed on a regular basis, I have met some great people.  Opening up the blog to weekly contributors has added new dimensions, refreshing voices, and given me some wonderful inspiration. It’s been quite exciting!

This week we are presenting a two-part series about “tweeting for the greater good”.  Gretchen Vaughn is an iPad blogger. She writes extensively about the iPad and how cool it is (ok, that is my interpretation; in all fairness, I am a Mac-head). She got in touch with me on Twitter after one of my calls for guest posters and said she was interested in blogging about Tweeting for Good.  Of course, I was immediately interested. Gretchen emailed me with her incredible ideas and then said she wanted it to be a two-part series.

She is writing off-topic per her usual niche, and with this series she is stepping out of her blogging comfort zone.   I am thrilled that the Blog Cubed gets to be her vehicle for this experiment.  I love the topic. Her perspective should be energetic, fresh and informed.

This is the kind of thing that further demonstrates the benefit of guest bloggers.  Gretchen’s idea has inspired me.  And because she reached out, we are connecting in a lasting way.  I now follow her tweets and read her blogs.  Thus I’ve been introduced to her, and her blogging.

Finding guest bloggers is not always easy.  Like everything with blogging, regularity is key.  If you want guest bloggers, then make it a feature of your blog.  Once I did that, it became easier to find them. Of course, just because you ask does not mean people will answer. People may feel insecure or unsure about responding.  Put out your request, but also do not be afraid to just ask someone whose writing intrigues you.

Blogger Brandi-Ann Uyemura found me on Twitter and started talking to me. I looked at her profile, then looked at her blog, then asked her if she would be interested in blogging.  She said yes, and a wonderful post was born!

Guest blogging is not just about getting another post on your blog. It is about connecting to more of the community; meeting new people, engaging on a meaningful level, inspiring yourself and reinvigorating your blog. Guest blogs can help you build traffic, give you a break and refresh your writing, introduce yourself to a new audience and offer great content!

I read, I write, I blog…but why?

Lauren MacEwen with a comic text bubble that says "I'm sure I can think of something to say"

I am preparing to give a talk on blogging at the end of February.  This has me thinking a lot about the topic. However, I have not been thinking about strategy or what goes into building a blog. I have been thinking about the issue of writing: what qualifies us to write, what gets us going, why we write and why we don’t.

I read a lot; blogs, news articles, magazine articles, academic articles, books and posts. In fact, if I were to sum up my primary activity, reading would be at the top of my list. Because I do this, I come across a lot of good writing and a lot of bad writing, especially in the world of blogging. Most seems to fall somewhere in the middle.

As a consumer of writing, I feel as though I am a fair judge. As a writer, I am rubbish at critiquing my own. So I have given up trying.

Lately what has become more interesting than the quality of writing has been the reason behind it.

Why do we write?

I started writing this blog to help my business. Blogs establish expertise. They give a voice to your business. They help with SEO because they create dynamic content. I also started writing because I have a lot of thoughts about social media.  I wanted a place to share these thoughts, as well as a place to work them out. Sometime my theories, when trapped in my head, are not fully formed. Writing becomes a way I can work out the finer (or thicker) points.

My mom would argue that I write because I am a writer. She would say that I have always written. For those who remember me in my younger and more tortured years, they will recall my stint as a poet. And yes, I have written stories for kids that I share with a select few.

I think blogs help turn reluctant writers like myself into writers. It becomes an easy way to embrace the writing bug.  For those who never were writers, blogs provide an easy vehicle where opinions count first, and writing second.

The biggest hurdle for new bloggers is the intimidation factor. There are many people who are interested in blogging but don’t do it because they don’t feel qualified. They don’t feel their writing is good enough or their theories are worth sharing.

First, you are the worst judge of your own writing.  Just start –  the more you write, the better you will become.

Writing about your business is a great way to begin. It drives traffic and establishes your expertise in an area. No one is asking you to be the next Hemingway. Write what you know about. As you continue you will fine tune your skills.

As bloggers, our posts become the social proof that qualifies us to write. We don’t need any qualifications to start writing. Do you have an opinion? Do you know stuff about stuff? Then you are qualified. And like anything, practice makes perfect.

You have something to say. It is time to say it.

Editor’s note: Lauren’s message is positive encouragement for your desire / willingness to communicate. All good. Here’s one thing for you to consider: have someone look over your stuff before you go public. Your style is your style, and maybe it’s all one sentence in lower case and stream of consciousness. However, if your goal is to be seen as a professional, or be taken seriously (or humorously) have your writing reviewed. It’s easy for us to miss our own mistakes – and if readers are tripping over typos, seriously misspelled or misused words and unintended grammatical hiccups they’ll miss (or dismiss) your great concepts. A good editor can proofread your stuff, help you streamline the flow of syntax and ideas and make your unique writing “voice” more effective and powerful.

OK, start writing!  Hilary Jetty (SM3 associate and copy editor)

Goodbye Droid, Hello iPhone

apple logo with the verizon logo underneath

The announcement yesterday about Verizon carrying the iPhone is trending on all social media. How many Droid users are only fans because they could not get iPhone on Verizon? An estimated 2 million to start.

A number of months ago I had to get rid of my iPhone because of AT&T issues.  After the iPhone 4 came out, and the update, my iPhone 3 started losing reception.  I finally bit the bullet and bought the new iPhone thinking that might help.  It was a beautiful piece of tech. It was sexy and sleek. It was easy to use, easy to type on, took great photos, video conferencing…well, you know how cool it was.  But something with the update and the change irrevocably affected my service (and at my house I had none!).  Since my iPhone was my only phone, this became a big problem.  After many hours (for days) on the phone with tech, going into the Apple store, going into the AT&T store, getting the wireless tower and trying everything humanly possible, I finally had to accept that it was time to get rid of my iPhone.

I was in deep mourning for about a month.

Even now, when I see happy iPhone people easily texting and playing with apps, I have a twinge of remorse for my favorite phone.

I replaced it with a Droid.  I know many people love their Droids. I, however, am not one of them.  I hate the screen keyboard. It is extraordinarily difficult to type on without constant typos.  It auto-texts every word and I often accidentally correct words and change them into something unintended. Yes, I know this is user error, but it is user error propagated by the phone. I think if I never had an iPhone, I might have liked the Droid. But I did. It is like reading A Clockwork Orange before seeing the movie.  I think I would have like the movie if I had seen it first, but I couldn’t help but recoil from Kubrick’s interpretation of the book.

This is not the first time I have expressed displeasure with my Droid.  I wrote another post on why I didn’t like it and managed to upset some Droid fanatics. Ultimately there are so many reasons why I do not like my Droid. Maybe iPhone ruined me for all other smart phones.

Here’s why…

Some reasons I hate my Droid

  • It says Droid…when it turns on or shuts off, it will say Droid in a creepy computer voice
  • It crashes.  I never had an iPhone program (or the phone) crash.  But I frequently have to “force quit” the Droid
  • The screen typing sucks
  • It eats battery life
  • Does not sync with my computer, I have to sync it with gmail. What if I don’t use gmail?
  • I have to click the top to activate the screen
  • I have to click the top if my screen turns off while making a call
  • I hate that stupid button at the top
  • No camera forward like on iPhone 4

OK, some reasons I like my Droid

  • I can actually make and receive phone calls – ultimately this beat out any reason I don’t like my Droid. It is a phone and I need to make calls.
  • The voice typing is cumbersome but kind of cool
  • It has a whoopie cushion app
  • The flashlight app is also very cool and works like a real flashlight

When I replaced it I chose Verizon as my carrier, not because they had better service than anyone else, but because I knew I could get reception and it was rumored they were going to be carrying the iPhone. On the off chance the rumors were true, Verizon had to be my provider.

The day is finally here….or will be in a month.  On 2.10.11, the iPhone will be available on Verizon!

There are those who are saying it will not be as good as the newer Verizon smart phones because it will not be on the coveted 4G, and that it is slower and can be hacked easier. But to quote the cartoon (shown below)…I don’t care.

Ultimately it is a matter of preference.  Droids are good phones. iPhones are good phones.  What can I say, I am a Mac Girl.

This is a very funny cartoon about the HTC Evo vs. the iPhone. There is some inappropriate language in it and it is generally making fun of iPhone users sacrificing good tech for brand recognition….but I don’t care.

My RSS Feed is Gone!!

cartoon man sitting on a bench reading an oversized magazine with an RSS symbol on the coverI was doing some basic maintenance on my blogsite and suddenly realized that my RSS feed subscribers dropped down to zero.  You can imagine my “WHAT THE F*%$!!!!” reaction.  Once I got a grip, I decided to leave it for a day to see if maybe it was just some horrible dream.  So I came back and checked and nope, it was real.  All of my subscribers were gone.

I checked my RSS address and it was no longer registering my RSS feed, which was totally confusing and frustrating.  I actually had to go into my wordpress site and eliminate my custom feed.  Then I deleted my feed on Feedburner and reclaimed it. THEN I had to assign a new feed url and redirect my wordpress to the new feed address! Thankfully I did not have many subscribers…

Ok, wait, not really –  I am thankful for every subscriber!  What I mean is that I just offered a subscription box on this site, so I hadn’t yet gathered many subscribers.  But for people who have been managing subscribers for a long time, having your feed url get tanked could be devastating!

I hope that by fixing the RSS feed the subscribers I had will find me again.

Of course after I did all this I started doing some research on feedburner, specifically for this post.  I originally wanted to talk about what feedburner counted and what they didn’t, and why it is not always the most accurate form of traffic stats for blogs.  I found out that Google has been doing some algorithm adjustments and my RSS tanking was most likely because of this.  A post was written talking about feedburner possibly being one of the sources to people having RSS issues. Apparantly Techcrunch and Mashable both had issues with their feeds because of this update.

If it can happen to Mashable, it can happen to me! and you!

So go out and check your feed and make sure that all is well in your blogoverse.

5 Sources of Inspiration for Bloggers

Comic image of two people talking about finding things to write about

Blogs can be a source for – or a source of – inspiration. Blog writing is something we come to in many different ways. Some people write out of a deep interest in a topic; they have a passion about a subject that they want to share with others.  Others have expertise they want to pass on.  Some people do it out of professional intrigue or professional necessity.  The reasons for blog writing can be as varied the topics covered.

Regardless of the reason for writing, sharing is one of the key elements that unites bloggers. One of the things they most want is for others to read it.  We all want to acquire an audience.

There are various ways to promote our blogs, drive traffic, and build revenue and subscribers.  But before you can focus on these things you have to face some primary technical questions – like how often are you going to post?

How often can you write on your topic?  How frequently can you find sufficient inspiration?

Is once a week enough?  Twice? Three times?  What about daily? Oh my god, daily! Yowza. Let’s not even talk about the nuts who post twice daily (ahem…Chris Brogan)

If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, then Brogan summed it up nicely when he said, “the more you post, the more traffic you get.”

So now you are blogging three times a week, or maybe you have even gone hell bent for leather and are blogging daily. So how do you do it?  How do you find motivation?  How do you find your topics?

  1. Read other people’s blogs!
    This is one of the best ways to find inspiration. See what other people are writing about; perhaps respond to what they have written.
  2. Read the news
    Many of us don’t actually blog about mainstream news, so what is the news in your industry?  You probably have thoughts and opinions on trending topics.  Share your opinion. Stop worrying if people agree with you, or if you are right or wrong.  Put your thoughts out there, and then if the response you get changes your point of view, well then you have another post topic!
  3. Follow Twitter
    Twitter is a beacon of discussion.  What are people talking about?  How are people interacting? Twitter is ripe with inspiration seeded in the conversations.  If you pay attention to what people are talking about you will see what people are interested in…write about that!
  4. Watch a movie
    Sure, it is a great form of procrastination, but if you are feeling stagnated then challenge yourself with a movie.  Watch a great and notable title and see how you can apply your writing to that movie.  Integrate buzz words from your industry into movie liners.  Have fun with it!
  5. Just start writing
    Occasionally we are just blocked. Blocked for words, topics, creativity. Sometimes sitting down and just typing whatever comes to your mind will lead you into something.  Think of it as an active meditation.  Just write what comes, no matter how goofy or nonsensical.  Many times finding inspiration is a matter of discipline, which may means committing to writing even when you can’t think of anything to write.

The more you write the easier it will become. When you first ramp up your frequency it can seem really daunting.  But the old adage is true; the more you write the more you will be able to write.  If you focus, the inspiration will come!

What inspires you? Tell me about it!