flickr

Adding images to blog posts with Skitch, Zemanta and Flickr

Adding images to blog posts with Skitch, Zemanta and Flickr

Imagine I wanted to write a blog post about how to do something online. (I know it’s a stretch, but bear with me.) If I really wanted me reader to follow what I’m blogging about, I’d need to include screenshots. The typical workflow, on a mac, would...
Using online contests as a marketing tool

Using online contests as a marketing tool

If you’re running online contests to promote your work, you want to encourage people to participate as widely as possible. Here’s how to create a compelling and fun contest.

Rob’s Northern Voice keynote

If you’ve ever wondered whether social media is funny, check out the reaction to Rob’s Teh Funny Northern Voice keynote. The Twitter backchannel is reprinted in text below. These tweets are in chronological order, so you can follow the thread of the...

Will the real Alexandra Samuel please stand up?

I knew this charade couldn't last forever. Like lonelygirl15 and fake Steve Jobs before me, I went to great efforts to create a compelling illusion: not only an Alexandra Samuel blog, but a consistent profile on every online community site from del.icio.us to Facebook. Even a complete fake company with me as the fake CEO.

But today, the illusion is at an end. Darrell Houle has unmasked mHighrise tour by 37signalse as…..Suzanna Cavatrio, copywriter for Enormicom.

Huh?

That's right, Darrell came across my alter ego on the tour page for Highrise, a CRM product from 37Signals, the makers of Basecamp. Check it out:

Highrise tour by 37signals

I'm happy to take this re-purposing as a sign that someone at 37Signals saw my obsessive blog post about Basecamp workflow. Or maybe it's a tribute to the talented man behind the camera — Kris Krug, who took the original photo. Maybe this is kk+'s chance to become official photographer for 37Signals?

 

Is Facebook trying to kill you?

Is Facebook trying to kill you?

From Blade Runner to the Matrix, from Star Trek’s Borg to Battlestar Galactica’s Cylons, we’ve spent a lot of time imagining the day when our super-strong, super-smart robots get tired of vacuuming and decide they want to rule the world. That’s given me an opportunity to consider a more immediate threat: Facebook. Not just Facebook, actually, but all the social networks and online communities to which we give our eyeballs, braincells, hearts and dollars. Could these online communities constitute the machine threat that sci-fi has taught us to anticipate?

Web 2.0 and Your Organization – Event Hosted by Eventbrite

Coming to Toronto in July: the workshop that I developed with Jason Mogus on how organizations can effectively use social media tools. Join us, and please encourage your friends and colleagues to attend.
Vancouver workshop: Web 2.0 and your organization

Vancouver workshop: Web 2.0 and your organization

We're often approached by business and nonprofit organizations who are interested in tapping the power of the social web but don't know where to start, or how to get a feel for the possibilities. I'm delighted to be co-teaching a Hollyhock-in-Vancouver workshop next month that will be a great opportunity for Vancouver-based organizations to get smart about Web 2.0:

Web 2.0 and your organization 

Are you interested in how online communities like Flickr, MySpace, and YouTube can empower your members and customers to carry your message out into the world? Could your organization benefit from deeper collaboration among your team members, clients, partners or the public? Could better knowledge-sharing, stronger relationships and closer communications inside your organization and with your core supporters foster more efficiency, insight and effectiveness?

The latest generation of "Web 2.0" or social web strategies and tools offer powerful opportunities for organizations to improve the way they work, communicate their messages, empower others, and serve the public. In this workshop you will learn how the latest tools for online collaboration and community building can make your organization smarter and more effective.

This workshop is designed for communications strategists, marketing managers, and webmasters who are interested in how this evolution of the web can help evolve your organization's online strategy. We will give you the tools, knowledge, and most crucially, the vision for how your organization can use the web as a stronger agent of change. We’ll also cover the nuts-and-bolts, introducing the latest tools so that you know which options are most promising for your needs.

About the presenters: Jason Mogus is the CEO of Communicopia, which has helped progressive companies and non-profits communicate and collaborate via the web for 13 years. Jason is also the founder of Web of Change at Hollyhock. Alexandra Samuel, PhD (Harvard), is CEO of Social Signal, and is helping some of the web's most ambitious community ecosystems use the social web to support dialogue and collaboration.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Hollyhock Leadership Institute, Web of Change, Social Signal, Communicopia, Social Tech Brewing, and Impacs.

To register:

Visit the Hollyhock site, call 800-933-6339 x232, or e-mail registration[at]hollyhock.ca

 

Tagging for world domination

Tagging for world domination

Tags can help you drive traffic to your website and build engagement in your online community. Here are my secrets to tagging success.

Business tunes into grassroots community

Business tunes into grassroots community

I’m just back from SXSW, where I was reminded that there are still a few people out there who are thinking about the Internet as a potential business opportunity rather than as a chance to reinvent democracy.

At the panel I was on — Remixing Business for a Convergent World — it seemed that what is really converging is how both business folks and political hacks are looking at the Net. Let’s take, for example, the question of how to make strategic use of blogs — a question that my fellow-panelist, Robert Scoble, addresses in his recent book Naked Conversations.

Thanks to blogs, businesses can no longer afford to ignore even their smallest customers. Traditional blue-chips are starting to recognize that their next p.r. crisis could be precipitated by a cranky shareholder or dissatisfied customer who blogs about the company. As for the latest generation of web start-ups — sites like Squidoo, Frappr, or LinkedIn — they’re not only sensitive to customer perceptions: their entire business models are based on user (i.e. customer) contributed value.

Once you start to see customers are value creators, rather than value consumers, a lot of business truths get turned upside-down. Take, for example, the idea that businesses are primarily accountable to their boards or shareholders. Does anyone out there think that the success of del.icio.us or Flickr depends more on Yahoo shareholders than on the users who are contributing bookmarks, photos, and software plug-ins?

If businesses find themselves suddenly accountable to their users, that kind of accountability is old news to both government and civil society organizations. Governments have always been primarily (if imperfectly) accountable to citizen-voters, and civil society organizations (whether community service groups or political advocacy organizations) have always been primarily accountable to their members and donors.

The net result is that it’s business that now needs to learn from civic and public organizations about how to enage at the grassroots level. It’s not like public and nonprofit organizations have all the answers — great examples of effective two-way member/voter engagement online are still rarer than the many examples of organizations that are still in “broadcast” mode — but at least there’s a decade of effort to look at.

For those of us who’ve been thinking about online democracy and grassroots engagement for something like that long, the rise in business interest should come as (mostly) good news. Sure, there’s more competition for public attention: efforts at getting voters to participate in policy discussion now have to compete with businesses offering free ipods in return for customer feedback.

But there’s also a rapidly expanding toolkit for grassroots community-building. Tools like Squidoo, Flickr, and del.icio.us offer entirely new ways of involving members and encouraging members to interact with one another. Just as important, the private sector’s growing embrace of customer “community” may help to build a broader culture of pervasive engagement.