Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Blog of the Day

Sometimes I like to blend into a crowd - feel part of the bigger group - a small piece in the community. Its why I like to visit the big cities - NY, Seattle, Chicago, SF, Dallas - and the busy cities - Las Vegas. While its never often enough - I'd love to get back to Florence, Italy...and Roma - the memories last. Its also one reason I like going to concerts, art openings and large public events. Blending in and being another face in the crowd. There is even a certain degree of anonymity. Being a part of something big - so big as to be lost in it. Being part of building and connecting in a blogging community lends itself to this feeling at times.

At other times I like to stand out. Don't we all? Admit it even though its a rhetorical question. Of course we do! Its human nature. We're human. It adds value to our lives. It feels good. Today I'm recognized at Fuel My Blog in the upper right corner - Blog of the Day - on the business page - woo-hoo! A growing community with their very own blog! Kevin does a wonderful job of responding to comments and updating the community. In the midst of an upgrade as of today, it looks like Friday will be go live. I've been involved in a few "go live" projects (though none for websites) and can imagine the excitement going through his veins. What a thrill for him and his entire team!

When not blog of the day - you'll find me just under Sandy and at 4 o'clock from C.B. I'm honored to be in such a great neighborhood. I'm part of the wall and a blog in the crowd :) One of the aspects I really like is the diversity of blogs at Fuel. Near as I can tell, the creators (producers? directors? owners? administrators?) are in Europe. International travel on a low budget :)

It comes down to a balance of blending in and standing out. We all have those needs. Building and creating blog conversation permits the chance to experience both human needs.

How do you allow both needs to flourish through your blogging?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

An SOB and I didn't even realize it...

No one ever accused me of being overly fast - fact is I don't run for the simple fact I don't like to have both my feet off the ground at the same time :)

Yep - it's true - a month ago - week 65 SOB's - (one of my favorite numbers by the way). Thank you Ms. Strauss - I am convinced you are one in a million! A happiness influencer!

I can be a Successful AND Outstanding Blogger. Wait - I am! I'd like to thank everyone for the consistent encouragement and comments. Its a bit like going into the Hall of Fame. I sincerely feel the support of all the SOB's in this blog nation. Check it out - I even got the purple button (puffing chest out)

Here's the class I went in with - we're the 65'ers:
Tino Buntic - the 2K Blogger Guy
Greg Balanko - Business Coach
Gifter - the Internet Wishing Well
Robert Hruzek - Middle Zone Musings (written by a guy with a GREAT first name:)
Mike Wagner - Own Your Brand - a wonderful posting on becoming an SOB
Todd And - Marketing meets Media and connects - what a concept :)
Jodee Bock - You Already Know This Stuff

That's some tall cotton. I believe a visit to each spot in SOB nation worthy of our eyes and our hearts. Don't forget the CON in May!

And, DA - if you see this...looks like I was already an SOB when you called me one last week - ;)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Faith Ringgold is an Artist

I'm gonna warn you - I've been thinking a lot about the impact of women in the blogosphere. And women as leaders! My next few posts will be focused on those thoughts. It started with a post in our local newspaper. It lists a number of prominent women bloggers. Frank has a blog and a podcast. If your interested you will find reference to them by going to his post.

I'd rather shout out to Sandy, Liz, Robyn, Char, CK, Sherry because they have commented here, at MyBlogLog, or on their own blog. I'm a big believer on responding to comments - and leaving comments. They have all helped me along the path of blogging. They are heavy hitters in their own rights - each with great humor and sincerity.

Last night I went to a small exhibition - 40 pieces - of Professor Ringgold's work. I say small because the woman has been making art for 50 years...50! years. During her lecture she joked "I used to say it was 35 years...then 40...and now its 50" - it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. One of the images she repeatedly uses is Cassie flying. Cassie is a young girl who believes you can do anything - include fly - similar to building a blog around communication and building relationship.

"If One Can, Anyone Can,
All You Gotta Do Is Try"

Growing up in Harlem in the 1930's, Dr. Ringgold was exposed to the community that was the Harlem Renaissance - Duke Ellington, Joe Louis, Langston Hughes. Ms Ringgold's medium is paint, canvas, quilts. She began her lecture with a picture of her first oil painting at age 18. She is also a storyteller and book publisher. Ms. Ringgold told a great story about wanting to display some public work. In 1971, she submitted an idea for a painting to be displayed at what is now the Rose M Singer Center, Riker's Island. Figuring she would have a captive audience she painted For the Woman's House. Art without Walls is formed as a direct result. Apparently, in the early 1990's, women moved out of the facility and men were transferred in. Almost immediately, the painting was covered in white house paint - until someone realized it was the work of a living legend. An icon in African-American art history. Hello, restoration experts :) Here's a woman whose art hangs in the MOMA and Guggenheim.

I had first seen her work in the early '70's but couldn't recall what specifically grabbed me. And then, last night, I remembered - I saw the African mask series she had created. My eye went straight to that part of the display. Sadly, I can't scrape up any images of the masks on the web. Sometime in the '80's she begins quilting - "easier to carry a quilt than a canvas" - and telling stories within the quilts.

For a good selection of her work in chronological order - click here. It is bold, it is harsh - the web does not do it justice. If you ever get a chance - see her work. For those of you in or near NYC - check out the mosaic in the subway at 125th and Lenox (?) - its hers. Flying Home Harlem Heroes and Heroines - designed by Faith Ringgold - the stones done in Venice. Those Italians know mosaic!

A true 20th century woman - her story tells the struggle and the steps toward victory. I had to share it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Marketing Metrics and Success

Little bit of a conversation going at MarketingPathway on top 10 internet marketing metrics. I'm probably missing something without having numbers to use as examples but Doug's metrics make some sense. He responded back to my post - #1 action in having a conversation. Be responsive to those who take time to comment :)

I'd be curious to hear how some of you value his metrics - and more importantly - the ones YOU value.

My belief is the relationship comes first - money is a bonus! Granted a nice bonus - but still, a bonus. But the relationship - the communication - is what it's all about. What communication metrics do you value?

Success is a whole other ball of wax and pot of stew. I am having too much good fun with Successful Bloggers and the Con in May. Hoping to figure out a way to meet some fine readers while I work on SOB acceptance speech.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Psssst - Shhhh - its a secret

Absolutely cannot resist. I first saw it at Logic + Emotion during my Friday afternoon runthrough. Opening my big yap and leaving a comment only made me wonder more. Then it pops up on my feed reader at Mike's Converstations. Then Chris puts the same graphic up. When DA called me a perceptive SOB...well, that's all it took. Add persistent, too! And whether I'm right or wrong - it doesn't matter because at this moment - this very moment - I am having too much fun! My body is reacting to my emotions and they are running at a fever pitch. It's a blog high! The feeling you get that can't be described. I'd go so far as to say - and I KNOW Midwest winters...they are cold - I wish I was gonna be in Chicago on Sunday Feb. 18.

You can take the boy out of Iowa but you can't take Iowa out of the boy. The curious gene grows deep. So I wander over to Liz's place. And there it is! Eureka! Imagine this - a few bloggers show up somewhere and a celebration of sorts takes place. Its a not-so-secret bunch that thrives and flourishes on blogging - and more to the point - they thrive on conversation and the resultant success. Who's calling who an SOB? :)

I'm guessing that many - if not most - of you reading this post already recognize the value of community and conversation. I see many of the same names and faces in all kinds of places. What kind of crowd did I stumble into? What is fascinating to me is the conversation takes place across vast distances. This little path I've been on has taken me to Alabama, Australia, Des Moines (I been there), NY, Rhode Island, Russia, Texas...and those are the places just off the top of my head. The community ain't so small, but its pretty tight!

What does this mean for organizations? The organizations that we are part of and that are part of us? The communities we live in and SHOULD be making stronger? Here's what I think. Some see communication via pixels on a screen (blogging) as impersonal. The reasoning goes something like this - its a solitary activity consisting of ego driven ideas. How can it be of any help? Here's the reality - it might be solitary but it touches many - one at a time. It's an intimate connection. Its about sharing and giving to each other. Its about helping one another grow into our human potential. And its fun!

The buzz around Pssssst is hive worthy. I'll know this time tomorrow. And soon will find out whether David is right about me being an SOB! Great fun and happiness!

Friday, February 16, 2007

How Many Places Can You Go?

Or how much do you wanna bite off? :) I've added a couple widgets. These are markings along my blog journey. As I visit more and more places in the blogging community, I see how creative is this path. First widget added this week - Criteo Autoroll - came as a result of an email from Jean-Baptiste. He found One Reader from the Tino's 2000 Bloggers list. I know that has been a controversial page in some circles - oh, well! Autoroll is in beta and it displays links to blogs your readers like. There are metrics in place to analyze reader habits. I'll be watching and feeding back to J-B. The catch is that autoroll functions if its also on the blog that is viewing yours. Add it if you choose. More community building!

The second one is to the Great Wall of Blogs at fuelmyblog. Purple Wren posted about this site last week. I signed on by following her lead. I'm on the Life page and the Business page. As it turns out, I will be on only one by next week - against the rules to be on 2 walls with the same blog :) - but won't know which one! They had a contest to see which blogger could give the best review of the site and the results are here. It was a tie - read Drew's Flatwater Music and CyberPartyGal to find out a little more how it all works. The wizards continue to amaze me. This blog is now committed to 5 years advertising on the Wall. There are still some spots left so get on over there!

Thirdly, I added "Word of the Day". I love words and building vocabulary!

And finally, I went into a recording studio last weekend. See the MOG widget just under "Word of the Day". I share a little homegrown music with you!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Not Quite Dead Yet

One of my favorite Monty Python taglines.

I've had a couple conversations about media and newspapers with Lewis and Cord. We haven't gone into great detail. They gave me the chance to comment on great posts. Which is a chance to share thoughts and feelings. A-a-a-h - conversation and communication. I love it!

Just as I love whats called traditional media. Point of fact it pays the bills - its in my blood. Its been a tough battle with no end in sight. Competition for readers - and ad dollars - is fierce which is why I'm thrilled to have one at a time on this blog. Lets think for a minute how the media impacts us. Did you look or listen to any news today? Its rhetorical, so of course you did - in any number of ways - print, video, radio, digital. We all desire to carry on some sort of conversation on current events and topics of interest in our community. How long does new (emerging) media stay "new"?

Today the Center for Media Research sends a email message titled:

"According to new and revised data from the World Association of Newspapers, newspaper circulation is growing and new newspapers are being launched at a remarkable rate."
Read the entire report here.

MicroPersuasion weighs in with some stats on magazine advertising sales.

And LG posts an outstanding reason why some newspapers stumble. (I think he still loves the feel of print on paper :) - Some papers regain their stride, some don't. Local news sells the local paper. We can get world news from the vast expanse I'm typing into right now - the machine!

We're not quite dead yet. If you stopped subscribing to your local newspaper, did you have a reason? Take another look and see what you think. Let me know.

*technical question for anybody - for some reason the when I insert the typepad trackback url a message is returned "pings and trackback function must consist of HTTP" - so I've linked to the page url. Is this a problem on my end? (no wisecracks now)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Why To Blog?

Mike Sansone - Converstations - takes part in the tag meme that gives 5 reasons why I blog. Similar to this collage - but without the picture - by CK'sBlog. When she asked the question "Why blog?", my response was to learn. Now Mike "I'm tagging you now right between the i's"

I'm giving it a shot - this will be down and dirty - and a direct rip-off of my mantra - live, love, learn, lead - help each other to succeed. However, it's honest!

1 - I blog to learn more about technology - I'm an old horse...well not old old...but the revolutions around the sun are greater than 50! Some people are 60 ;)
2 - I blog to live to my greatest human potential - As humans we have a deep desire to communicate and share. We don't get where we are without others. Most of us fall short - no guilt intended - we ARE human. My belief is we have the chance to become more human in collectives. We need to take the chance and the risk.
3 - I blog to love - the love that comes from action in a community - from being a part of something that affects change. The love that flourishes when relationships are built. My blogging is intimate and personal - it flows in the river of my being.
4 - I blog to lead marketing newspapers to a new level - while I have not quite figured out how to translate my blog activity into "reality" i.e. making the boss some dough, the activity is valid. There is no magic bullet. I continue to build a network of great marketers, gain insight into marketing ideas, into marketing products and to use web 2.o tools.
5 - I blog to help others succeed - with any good fortune one or 2 might feel a small ripple form this corner of the blogosphere.
6 - Bonus answer - I blog to practice discipline. Making the commitment to translate thoughts into print on a consistent basis is a goal. It takes discipline - a self characteristic in short supply at times.
7 - Double bonus answer - I blog to focus the lens that I've polished for these many years - When I get comments and feedback, it helps me sharpen views.

I'm not tagging anyone at this point due to a technicality. I haven't officially been tagged - at least by the rules as I understand them :) - correct me if I'm wrong!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Weighing In - What IS news?

When celebrities die, folks eat it up. Couple a celebrity with va-va-voom figure and a tragic life...its all over. Inundation in the media. Lewis Green rocked my Friday world today with this post. I was easing on into the weekend and he asks all these hard questions :) - I'm kidding, of course. Love hard questions. CK has a post here and a different question. Cam Beck weighs in with a comment at both spots. Keen insight!

My intrigue centers around newspapers and how it played in them. In casual chat around here yesterday it was foremost in everybody's mind. Would that people were as conversational about global warming, cures for cancer, or any other number of topics. I was rather dreading how it would play in this morning's paper. More specifically, I distinctly remember thinking "It's not front page news!" - but it is news. I'm not an editor. It ran on page 3 - right next to Scooter Libby trial.

Here's the recap from Newseum. If you don't want to link, it says of the 509 newspapers they track it was on the front page world wide. My unscientific glance found a handful with no mention on page one - but for arguments sake we'll go with the Newseum observation. So what's that say about us as readers? About newspapers? Does it matter? And don't hold back...I take nothing personally (or at least make a valid attempt).

I believe we are what we read. And we read what we are.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Connections in this small world

The original intent of this post is not how its going to turn out. I had intended to talk about my plans to ride in RAGBRAI this summer. But reality set in. I'll write more about this ride as winter turns to spring and then to summer. There is plenty of time.

My reflection turns to the communities we build through blogging. The people we meet and how our lives intersect. I trace my blog beginnings - and woderment - to one particular August post and 3 particular bloggers - David Armano, Mack Collier, and Gavin Heaton. They write at MarketingProfs, too. Their writings have influenced the way I approach communicating via this little blogspot. They continually remind me that sharing is the key to fulfillment - and to successful living/blogging. I've never met any of these fine fellows - nor any of you reading this - but somehow feel a kinship. And gratitude. After my August WOW moment, I drifted away from One Reader. Life happens!

Out of the blue, Gavin sends me an email - wonders where I've been and how come no posts? I mess around a little more - make a few posts - and then hear about mybloglog. Lo and behold - among the many I have begun building relationships with there - I bump into Gavin. We exchange links and join each others community. Imagine my shock when only tonight, I discover his father-in-law was in a terrible cycling accident in December. Gavin has created a site to monitor his progress. My thoughts are with his family. I hope for a swift and solid recovery.

Here's my point - this rock in space keeps moving. Each of us has our own lives. Those lives collide, intersect, and interconnect in the most fascinating ways. All of this has happened in a mere 6 months - thats a blink in time. Amidst all the madness we are given a gift to share with one another - our selves. It's a bit altruistic to believe the world becomes a better place through building relationships...but I believe it does. It is a thrill to experience.

What about relationships and community have surprised you through blogging?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Hunka Hunka Burnin' Ads

Like Char at Essential Keystrokes I watch the Super Bowl for the ads! Its for darn sure the game is anti-climactic. Ever since Joe Namath predicted the Jets would beat Johnny U and the Colts its been a non-sports event for me. And I'm a little compulsive about the ads - blogging anyone? - I write 'em down with a general first impression. No need to leave just yet - I won't be giving comments on each of them :). I will tell you the link to all of this year's commercials is at the bottom of this post. They have them listed by quarters - but they are decidedly NOT in the order that I saw them. Maybe they aren't intended to be...told you I was a little obsessive. But I think the sequence of the ads gives them greater weight. There were 71 ads by my count (that's without the CBS promos of there own shows - next year I count those). It includes the post game ads. Cars come out on top with 17 individual ads. Beverage (soda/beer) is next with 15. Food follows with 9 unique advertisers. Online business ties food but only because 2 outfits played the same ad twice. Now THAT is a lack of creativity - or a mocking of the viewer - I haven't yet decided.

All day long I've heard how bad they were this year. Super Bowl 2007 was not the strongest line up of ads but time usually plays a part in great commercials. I'm glad slapstick is making a comeback. Can anybody name a year that was clearly better than any other? Where's the beef? Here are my highlights - excuse the ties:

Best Use of Music - tie - Chevy's People who Love cars Love Chevy's and Honda's CR-V with Elvis. Great music overlaying excellent graphics!

Oddest juxtaposition of 3 ads - Sprints connectile dysfunction sandwiched between Coke (and its bottles) tribute to Black History and Frito-Lays "What getting here represents". Poor production choice and don't tell me the producers don't have a choice. If I was Coke, Sprint or Frito-Lay I'd be flat upset.

Oddest juxtaposition of 2 ads - eTrades "things you can do with one finger" following a Flomax ad.

Most puzzling ad or what do they do? - - GPS?, MP3?, make paper dinosaurs?

Most graphically appealing - Coke's Rube Goldberg cartoon and Fords EDGE

ASPCA potential protest - Blockbuster's mouse - poor mouse

Best punchline - Whats the ax for? Its a bottle opener.

Here's all of them.

Added 2.08.2007 - a history of Super Bowl ads by the numbers from Media Research

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Adding Color to Your Interior

Last Friday I walked into the office with a couple flats of primroses. It was a dreary February day. By the time I got in, both official groundhog viewings were history - just one of the advantages to living on the left coast of the US. It felt good to add a little color to the space. Heck, it felt good to carry a little color from point A to point B.

You should have seen the faces light up! "Are those for me?" "Oh, how lovely!" "Are you planting a garden?" These are simple little flowers. They were real cheap - under a buck a piece. The conversation around them brightened everyones day. Several writers who post blogging tips blogging advise adding color and graphics. I got to looking at One Reader and found it lacking in graphics. Which is unlike the me. I like art. I like images. I like color. Sandy at the Purple Wren brings it on so check here.

Does any of it matter? Of course it does...try it this week. But you decide...add a bit of color to your interior - see if it doesn't add a smile.

I'm thinking of tossing in a few tomatoes in the coming weeks.