8cacrko6ecatnep4wcaapbirlca03y9dnca3wh181caidesbncaruu6vpcarfh1ggcaoq1l0scayzyamzca9r04t8ca0riyktcaiavvvccawanc7hcao33wiocaml6294ca0ys81kcafvly4yca9hrqffcama2gqv2In my last blog I talked about how my present to my mom this holiday was going to be showing her how to set up her own blogsite. 

Sorry to say my mom decided she didn’t really want to blog.  Disappointing, but not unexpected. 

But then on CNN today I was listening to some guy talk about how to save money during these tough economic times, and guess what he suggested doing?  Finding gifts that took time, not money, for your friends and family.  He came up with giving a massage to your spouse. 

That’s one way to go.  But you probably can’t (or shouldn’t) be giving massages to too many people!  So, that’s when it hit me that I was onto something.  This holiday season, give the gift of blog.  It doesn’t cost a thing and whoever you give it to will so appreciate having someone sit beside them and teach them how to blog.  And just think if even one out of every 20 people turn someone they care about onto blogging — the ultimate in social media.

Right?  (And by the way, if you start seeing WordPress and others promoting this idea, you’ll know it started here!)


My mom, the world-class e-mailer

My mom, the world-class e-mailer

I started my blog a month ago.  From there I got on Facebook for fun and LinkedIn for business.  I used Technorati to choose which blogs to subscribe to and Google Reader to have one place to see new posts from my favorite blogs.  I use WordPress for my bloghost and PollDaddy to post questions.  I read others’ blogs and from time-to-time post comments on them.  I monitor my stats, use Flickr and YouTube for photos and videos, and I occasionally rate my favorites on Delicious or Digg.  I even joined a couple forums, and signed up for Twitter (which I don’t yet like).

It’s been a busy month.  I actually think I can feel my brain growing new cells or improving their connections!  I have found benefits both personally and professionally and tonight I want to focus on ways that people can use social media just for fun.    

As I’m writing this, my mother (who is 79 and who is awesome at e-mail) has sent me three different e-mails.  Two have editorials about the election and one is asking what we’d like to eat at Thanksgiving.  I want to dedicate this post to my mom.  In fact, I’ll write her a letter: 

Dear mom, 

You should start a blog.  I know you don’t want alot of strangers seeing what you are saying.  That’s okay.  You can have a blog that only the people you want to see it can subscribe to it.  But a blog is a zillion times better than e-mail for you (and your family and friends) and here’s why.

First, instead of sending lots of individual e-mails, you can post things to your blog for all of us to see.  And next to each editorial, you can even comment on it.  I love the editorials you choose to send me, but if you instead upload all of them on a blog, I don’t have to open and close 5 different e-mails — they’re all in one place.  (They are also easier for me to find and pass onto someone else.) 

The same is true when you see a YouTube video you like or you want to share photos of the NY Botanical Gardens.  In fact, you can upload your favorite photos right tere and include captions.  It will look really cool. 

Plus, when you want to know what people think about something, you can even use PollDaddy to make an interactive survey instantly and it will even automatically tally the results.  So, you can figure out right away what our favorite movies are to see together or what time each of us is arriving for a visit.  

Then, you can write a post about something you’ve been thinking about and any or all of us can comment back.  It’s a really nice way to easily hear from everyone without having tons of separate e-mails going back and forth. 

Also, blogs have archives and so all in one place you can have a record of all the different posts and replies.  It’s like a living journal you would be creating. 

So, if you like this idea, as your early holiday present, I can help you design your own blog and then set it up to invite whoever you want to subscribe to it.  That means that each day, we could go to our reader and see whatever new posts you’ve put up all right there. 

And mom, as my most faithful reader on this blog, why don’t you send me a reply back here?  If others see your response (and be kind), it may inspire them to give the gift of blogging too! 

Love ya

sharon


Well, this is likely to be a very short post.  You know why?  I wanted to compare the blogs of two high-end department stores — Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Guess what?  Not a blog in site.

Why?  Both these stores are constantly reaching out to their customers — offering personal sales, exclusive pre-sales, trunk shows, insider magazines.  And yet — no blogs.

I really don’t get it.  There are so many fashion blogs — especially during Fashion Week.  Why wouldn’t these stores encourage their designer apparel buyers, for example, share their insights with us — tell us about their buying trips, and what we can expect. 

Are they just behind the curve and in a year-or so they’ll figure it out?  Or is there some rational reason that, with all the ways they try to build loyalty, blogging hasn’t occurred to any of them? 

So, Bloomies vs Saks in the blog-off?  It’s a no-show.  Can someone explain this to me?


Redskins vs Cowboys

Redskins vs Cowboys

I’ll start by admiting that I’m a diehard Redskins fan.  But I don’t play fantasy football or Madden 09, and so I came up with another way to have them battle it out (okay, virtually battle it out.)  I’ve chosen the Redskins and the Cowboys for my first blog-off.  Which team has got the better blog.  (And yes, I’ve got my fingers crossed it’s the Redskins!)

I found their respective blogs: The Redskins Blog and The True Blue Fan Club and then checked out the number of unique visitors on compete.com.   I was stunned.  While both had only started their blogs in mid-May, the Redskins had about 20,000 unique visitors, the Cowboys had more than 160,000. 

Round 1, the Cowboys.

Next, I clicked on the Cowboys’ blog and looked to see who writes it.  All it said was that Cowboys’ staff contribute to the blog.  There’s no description of who these staff people are and it’s written like a string of news items.  Items like Tony Romo only threw a few passes today. Pretty dull.  Surprisingly, they had tons of comments in response to their posts.  These poor Cowboys’ fans are desperate to hear about their team.

Meanwhile, the Redskins’ blog left the Cowboys in the dust in terms of the quality of the blog.  Rather than just posting some news tidbits by random staff, it has a single author who blogs on the “sights and sounds at Redskins Park.”  He’s really connecting the fans with the team.  And while he doesn’t get tons of comments, there’s definitely a respectable number. 

A terrific thing about the Redskins’ blog is that right away it tells you who the team’s blogger is:  Matt Terl, a lifelong Redskins fan whose job it is to go to Redskins Park each day and get the kinds of stories that fans would love to know but that the media doesn’t typically cover.  And contrary to the Cowboys’ clog, Matt says right away:

This is not a news blog.  This blog will not be exclusively devoted to on-the-field activity, nor exclusively to practice, injuries or anything like that. 

He knows you can get that anywhere.  He goes the extra distance.  So, for quality of content and blog personality, it’s no contest.  The Redskins all the way.

Next, site design, navigation, headlines, photos, once again it’s hail to the Redskins.  They clearly made a great decision hiring Matt and you can tell they value his blog. 

Just check it out yourself:  here’s a sample headline from the Redskins’ blog:

“Snoop Dogg and Devin Thomas Make Me Feel Old”Compare this to a Cowboys blog headline:  Romo Misses Practice, Listed as Questionable.  (Wow, that’s just sad.)

So, final score?  28 to 3 (4 TDs to 1 FG).  Redskins WIN!!!!!

   


I recently discovered a terrific blog feature called “Bloggers Face-Off“.  Every week Daniel Scocco  has 2 famous bloggers answer some quick questions, which are presented side by side.  Bloggers vote for their favorite.

I love this concept, but I’d like to add a twist:  A blog-off with famous rivals like Coke and Pepsi, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, McCain and Obama to see who has the best blog.   

Now, since these guys are unlikely to let me pose questions to them, I thought I’d choose 5 – 10 criteria to rate the blogs on and then see how they score.  But I can’t do this alone.  What do you think are the best factors to rate these rivals’ blogs on?  Should it include: 

  • quality of the writing?
  • great headlines?
  • look of the site? 
  • ease of navigating?
  • popularity?
  • ability to generate great comments? 
  • thought-provoking?

And whose blogs should we pit against one another?  How about top PR agencies like Burson-Marsteller and Hill & Knowlton?  Or CNN vs MSNBC?  The Simpsons vs Family Guy?

Let me know — together I think we can make this really great.


Today’s New York Times’ story, “The Man Behind the Whispers About Obama,” reveals the source responsible for planting the lie about Barack Obama being a Muslim, a lie that continues to this day to get alot of traction in certain circles.

The most persistent falsehood about Senator Barack Obama’s background first hit in 2004 just two weeks after the Democratic convention speech that helped set him on the path to his presidential candidacy: “Obama is a Muslim who has concealed his religion.”

The article explains how Andy Martin started a “cyberwhisper campaign” to spread this lie and that the Internet has empowered him in ways that would never have been possible in the past. 

Danielle Allen, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University who has investigated the e-mail campaign’s circulation and origins, “and it’s an example of how the Internet has given power to sources we would have never taken seriously at another point in time.”

Professor Allen’s assertion that the Internet has made it easier today for lies to be spread by clearly shady sources has some truth to it.  What is said in cyberspace doesn’t always stay in cyberspace.  One person — devoid of credibility yet armed with a blog or an e-mail account — can launch a smear campaign with the simple strike of the word “Publish.”  

But that’s the cyber-glass half empty.  The beauty of social media is this:  for every cynical, manipulative jackass launching a smear campaign online, there can — and must be — an army of those committed to setting the record straight. 

And so, here is my message.  If a coward and a liar uses social media to spew hate, we must answer that message with MORE social media to spread the truth.  Please join me.  Send this message (or your own) to shine the light on Mr. Martin’s lies.  Use every social media tool at your fingertips to isolate the liar and demonstrate the positive power of social media.


Multi-tasking or ADHD.  The first sounds so much better, doesn’t it?  Like you’re purposely taking on 18 things to do simultaneously.  ADHD, meanwhile, makes it sound like you’d like to focus on one thing at a time but hey, did you see that pretty butterfly?

Whatever.  Web 2.0 and blogging put the world at the speed I like to go.  Woosh — check out GoogleReader.  Immediately find what all my favorites have to say.  Scroll through at supersonic speeds til I hit something of interest.  Click, read, respond, and move onto the next.  It’s awesome.

Then flipover to my own blog.  Go to My Account, hit “stats” and instantly discover how many people checked what I wrote a few hours ago.  Damn, it’s 2 a.m. and no one’s read my new post.  What are they doing, sleeping?

Time to upload photos, checkout YouTube, see what’s happening on Facebook, and move on.  Thank God I have friends and family in the Philippines, California, London, and four other time zones. 

I wonder what therapists think about this?  Will FDA say that blogging is contraindicated for people with ADHD?  (While I’ve never been diagnosed with it, spend 5 minutes with me and I dare you to come up with another explanation.) 

Will it fry my brain that much faster?  Will it send me into overdrive?  Or, is it like taking my golden retriever Reilly on a long walk in the deep woods — just what he needs to work out all that excess energy?  Does it boost creativity or just cause it to ooze all over the floor?

My fingers are itching to hit the “publish” button — so I gotta go.  Let me hear what you think.