Sunday, August 27, 2006
Online branding, social media, ecommerce, and blog popularity are all based on one thing. Your manifestation of the core values of human communication. We hate to be lied to, ripped off, or have our time wasted with boring or unhelpful content.
It really is that easy.
Online loyalty is caused by the same qualities that govern any conversation: civility, attention to others, dignified discussions, personal boundaries, professional ethics, normative best practices, and consensus principles of polite conduct.
All your web site or blog has to do is identify and gratify needs.
All you need to do is respond cordially, authentically, and completely to reader comments, furnish fresh frequent content, and circulate in the blogosphere by posting comments at other blogs and forums.
If you must fight, be fair, firm, and friendly, even so far as complimenting your debate opponent. I was arguing with some stranger online about a recent Stephen Colbert roasting of President Bush video on YouTube.
The blogocombat got a bit stern and heated, but when my foe said, in passing, that I was a pretty good writer, he won. I felt defeated. He beat me to the blogocombat compliment, a sly and innocent way to win. Say, "I still disagree completely with your unfortunate point of view, but you sure type swell paragraphs."
Your online brand can be defined via blogs, podcasts, and web video.
Just stick to your core values and audience satisfaction, and you'll do just fine. I promise.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I have been putting lots of my original lecture and music videos up on Vaspers the Grate. See sidebar link, soon to be added here, of All Vaspers Videos at YouTube.
A few fans have asked: "Are you trying to be avant garde?"
I have no idea why anyone would ask such an absurd question. I have to confess right now: I don't know how to "act" or "try to be". I have tried to be someone or something, sure. Back in grade school, a few times. Maybe once or twice in high school. But I'm not cut out for theatre or imaginative writing.
I'm very ordinary and prosaic. I eat regular lunches and grow normal flowers. I have not the slightest foggiest notion how to "be" anything. I just do what I do. I have been expressing myself in blogs for going on 3 solid years now. Why the sudden arousal of video apprehensions and visual hermeneutics?
I have repeatedly expressed the thought that I just am me, and cannot otherwise be. I'm not trying to be anything. What ppl see in my videos, hear in my podcasts, and read in my blogs and email is just me. That's all it can be.
I admire those who can seem to waltz right out of their ingrained character. That means their true self is temporarily artificialized and marginalized, while the false front goes to work.
Actors can train themselves to act like something they want to be, or need to pretend to be. I hear that some people decide to be edgy or controversial or radical. I don't know how they do it. I cannot decide to be some way, then be it. I'm trapped in my authenticity.
If someone thinks I'm trying to be something, I sure wish they'd teach me how to pull that stunt.
In actual fact, my videos are spontaneous and unthought-out. I just turn the camera on and go. It's the core values of blogging, but applied to video blogging (vlogging).
I must explore every dumb idea and profound thought. Every twinkle in the eye and wrinkle in the forhead: every inspiration and doubt. Make my esoteric blogopedic treasures available in human lingo, down to the slowest mind imaginable, all inclusive, with never ends.
The upside down head (in "blogocombat manifesto VIDEO") was a mistake at first, very sleepy, then I just rolled with it. I don't know how to be what you say avant garde as you call it. I just know how to get angry and defend the things and people I care about.
I don't want to be a JABHIV (Just Another Boring Head In Video). So I use creepy home-made low tech video effects and call it space shuttle phase shifting, because it is. I do anything but sit there and jabber like a million other vloggers.
Maybe some day I'll figure out how to be really, delightfully infotaining.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
MySpace Unraveled: what it is & how to use it safely.
A Parent's Guide to Teen Social Networking.
192 pages, list price $14.99, copyright 2007.
Check out the very informative MySpace Unraveled review at CNET.
Dangers and opportunities are explained, including how the blogging disciplines (writing, editing, publishing, promoting, networking, etc.) can boost a teen's self esteem, provide practice in marketable business skills, and help to develop online socializing proficiency.
Blogs really can improve a person, and not necessarily lead to perversity and predators. Parents, teens, and business people need to understand all the many facets of blogging and the divergent blog platforms.
Social networking blogs are rising in the same blogosphere as the more isolationist, less social blogs of professionals, CEOs, and consultants. Thus, both blogosectors can benefit and learn from each other.
Personal bloggers can gain sophistication, ecommerce ideas, and promotional savvy from business blogs. Business bloggers can gain personalization, candor, and transparency inspiration from personal bloggers. As we support, challenge, monitor, and encourage each other, the blogosphere increases in value, power, and prestige.
Altruism, helping others, is the pure and primal heart of the blogosphere.
An online friend asked me today, via email, if I took "the minority position to instigate discussion." He seems neutral, so this is not an attack, it's just a question he presented to me for clarification of my style.
I do NOT intentionally express a minority, marginal, oppositional, contrarian, argumentative, critical, hostile, challenging, combative, or confrontational point of view.
To do so is a criminal act, called "trolling" or "baiting".
Here are my definitions:
blogocombat: online discussions, debates, and defense, thus can be friendly/professional, neutral/fact-finding, or hostile/emotional.
blogodiplomacy: exercising self-restraint, understatement, pacifying remarks, polite wording, and a tendency to favor ending arguments after an appropriate number of comments, from a few to many, depending on topic, host site preferences, netiquette, and honor -- rather than debating endlessly, thread-jacking, or spam commenting.
harshing: making very critical statements to scold, correct, or vilify an online foe or guilty entity, opposite of cringing, passivity, and civility.
trolling: cruising web forums, bulletin boards, chat rooms, blogs, wikis, discussion lists to incite trouble, to stir animosity, to make insincere but inflammatory proclamations to trick or provoke people into fighting.
baiting: making a statement, from hostile to supportive, with a hidden intent to lure people into a trap of saying an absurdity, revealing their true colors and agendas, or to deceive them with a commercial exploitation.
Blogocombat is a volatile, trouble-maker word, that many could misapply or misinterpret. Perhaps a better word is needed. The reason I use "blogocombat" when I mean a wide variety of online, and even offline, discussion is because I'm usually being attacked and have to defend myself sometimes, and it can get a bit intense.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
I had The Blogging Times in my sidebar at Vaspers the Grate. Not anymore. TBT has a banner ad headline over the title of the blog.
"Porn loving blogger needed" is the ad text.
I clicked on the ad to see what was up.
Porn-loving blogger needed
Friday August 18th 2006, 8:18 am . Filed under: Blogger
Notorious, rapidly exanding adult(all-male) studio needs disillusioned, loyal, intelligent, creative and peculiar personality for politically minded porn blog.
Send writing samples (please be original); a picture (doesn’t have to be nude); a resume; a witty but brief self-description, include your reasons for wanting to break into the filthy world of smut, what blogs you currently read and why you should represent.
As politely as possible, I told them to shove off, in a comment I posted. Polite? Me? Heh. Not really. Just joking. I was as abrasive as possible. Forgive my French, but I was very irate.
Excuse me, I have to go delete my links to this crap blog The Blogging Times. See ya later, friends.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
A hardcore blogger doesn't care what anybody thinks.
You post whatever content you think might benefit your readers, or whatever you feel like exhibiting: expertise, talent, anecdote, solutions, links, insights, art, photos, podcasts, videos.
Fearful enemies and jealous will abuse you, insult you, demand that you see a psychiatrist. Just because they disagree with your opinions, choices, style.
You must know how to bypass all that.
You keep posting text and audio and video to your blog, for one simple reason. To irritate the player haters who demand that you stop, get a life, see a shrink, or turn yourself into law enforcement. You disturb the mediocrity. They feel a guilt trip every time they think of you. Every time they force themselves to involuntarily inspect your blog and videos, they loathe them. They must bully you into agreeing with their superior judgment.
If you don't agree with their bullying critique, it means you're "an asshole".
According to them.
They hysterically rant, rave, and rage like screaming lunatics, but you, who aren't bothering or bullying anybody, are the one at fault. You, the happy, calm, contented person, you must be punished. Your smug lack of self-loathing must be desecrated and dumped. You are too prolific to be tolerated.
You make them look bad, as they obsessively, insecurely compare themselves to successful and contented people. Like you, you asshole. How dare you show passion for blogs and video and RSS? How dare you feel so free to self-assert like you do?
Your joyous freedom, creative insatiability, and stunningly innovative productions are just too much for lazy Normal Mediocre Mind and the Kingdom of Melancholic Failure to handle. You're impossible to understand. They want to erase you.
But you remain you, and they fade away.
Monday, August 14, 2006
My jejune colleagues, ever seeking new topics to bomb us with, are getting excited about The Future of Blogging and Social Networking Sites.
I think blogging is still in its early stages, as most other pundits proclaim.
Are blogs better now than they were back when Doc Searls, Jorn Barger, and Dave Winer first began? In what ways?
More popular, easier to use, more functionalities, more options for audio and video. These are some of the improvements we've seen.
Here is my comment on a recent post at The Blogging Times.
The article entitled "The Coming Long Tail Tsunami in Blogging".
The social networking aspects of web services are to be favored mainly by young people looking to hook up sexually or sell a music band and its CDs.
Business blogging will be a way to display expertise and to generate conversations with customers.
I do not buy into the snake head/long tail debate.
It’s odd that few discussions of blogging and its future ever consider past technologies.
Either blogging will fizzle out and become the exclusive domain of hobbyists and avid communicators (HAM RADIO) or it will enter the mainstream of normalized communications channels (TELEPHONE)…or a type of blogging will evolve into a bizarre new form of personalized contact (TELEPRESENCING).
That’s how I see it, with my nose to the blogging grindstone....................
P.S. I like WordPress and Blogger. In defense of Blogger, it seems perfect for serious, non-tech communicators.
I can easily tweak my template, upload images, add podcast audio and video player embeds in Blogger.
I don’t believe it’s very easy to do these things on WordPress. So in that sense, Blogger has kept pace with the blogosphere.
I also have foolproof comment spam elimination via easy comment moderation with captchas and delayed posting of comments.
In WordPress, you have to use all these different plug ins, and sometimes the plug ins are buggy, no offense Matt.
I recall hearing that WordPress was “not set up” to allow bloggers to access their template and make massive modifications, which I can do on Blogger.
I even made an Unblog called Jejune Jumpers, that stripped all blog functions and features from it, resulting in a web based billboard, a totally static page, like a magazine add. No posts, no comments, no trackbacks, no author, no blogroll, no archives, no recent post list, no About, no profile, etc. Just to show that a Blogger blog can be deconstructed and still have some web object floating in the digital effluvium.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
As your kids enter school this fall, you're bound to hear various versions of the new internet nursery rhyme that's all the rage.
Called "This is Why We Fight Online", this strange little childish ditty contains an obscure reference to "clients", and the social media pundits are deeply divided as to the proper interpretation of this peculiar term, some saying "parents" and some shouting "peers", but no one offering any proof.
"This is Why We Fight Online"
we see grinding mediocrity
it sickens us
we see the con artist trickery
it withers us
we see sleepy stupidity
it awakens us
we see lack of creativity
it enshakens us
so we attack
we don't want our clients pleading
"give us some of that"
when we can see it's schlock and slop
and time to close up shop
Saturday, August 05, 2006
To many, business is dull, dry, depressive. A vibrant hope can elongate a miracle mind, the dedicated employee.
Blog core value: creativity.
Vaspers the Grate
"Be Outside the Box" (3:12)
Friday, August 04, 2006
Miserably Servile Customer Pampering.
Here's how to begin: chew the Clue. The Cluetrain Manifesto.
According to The Cluetrain Manifested by you by your company.
They're constantly searching for solid information they can share with customers and prospects via Web and FTP sites, e-mail lists, phone calls, whatever it takes.
They're not half as concerned with protecting their data as with how much information they can give away.
That's how they stay in touch, stay competitive, keep market attention from drifting to competitors. Such companies are creating a new kind of corporate identity, based not on the repetitive advertising needed to create "brand awareness," but on substantive, personalized communications.
The question is whether, as a company, you can afford to have more than an advertising-jingle persona.
Can you put yourself out there: say what you think in your own voice, present who you really are, show what you really care about? Do you have any genuine passion to share? Can you deal with such honesty? Such exposure?
Human beings are often magnificent in this regard, while companies, frankly, tend to suck. For most large corporations, even considering these questions and they're being forced to do so by both Internet and intranet is about as exciting as the offer of an experimental brain transplant.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
From comments on "Should the CEO Blog?" in which there seems to be some discomfort on the parts of certain CEOs, regarding blogging, a supposed "risk".
31 Jul 06 | vaspers the grate wrote …
According to the book Credibility by James M. Kouzes (chairman emeritus of the Tom Peters Company) and Barry Z. Posner (2003), people expect a CEO to be Visionary and Inspiring.
Visionary means you take do take risks. Who ever heard of a conservative, timid Visionary?
Inspiring means you try things, experiment, and risk falling flat on your face. If a CEO fails, looks stupid in a blog or video, so what?
I don’t get it.
I think they are lying to us.
The real reason a CEO would act clueless or shun blogging is: not fear of flames, but reluctance to really hear the unvarnished complaints, questions, suggestions, and critiques of consumers.
The best thing any CEO can do right now is start Video Blogging. To present a human, fallible, credible, regular guy type image.
CEOs are in dire need of reform and good publicity.
31 Jul 06 | vaspers the grate wrote …
P.S. It’s on page 14 of Credibility. The 6 most valued characteristics of admired leaders:
2. Forward-thinking (“visionary”)
A CEO may not be the best blogger, though, you’re very right about that. He should be, ala Mark Cuban.
But anyone who has the requisite leadership qualities, and has a Real Passion for the solving the customer’s problems via the product, that’s who your blogger should be.
Not the most articulate, but the most sincere. We in the blogosphere have our digital senses trained to detect insincerity, con artists, and hype BS.
Let the one with the most team spirit, the most altruism, the most product knowledge be the blogger.
It’s sad to think that person might not be the CEO.
01 Aug 06 | Teresa Valdez Klein wrote …
Vaspers: I recognize that C.E.O.’s are supposed to be visionary leaders. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be cautious and planful when it comes to making important decisions about their companies.
I don’t think that blogging should be viewed as an “extreme sport,” to quote Stross. But I also don’t think that it should be a requirement that a CEO blog. When it comes to companies and the blogosphere, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
01 Aug 06 | vaspers the grate wrote …
The blogosphere began as a rough and tumble realm and it shall remain so.
CEOs who shy away from blogs are generally unwilling to be honest, candid, transparent, and hear directly from all types of customers and stray blog visitors.
There is great ROI on blogging: zero or near zero expense. But there is a time drain, but so what? Email drains time, too.
CEOs making important decisions about their companies? Blogging should be a trivial decision, like business cards and cell phones. No sweat.
Boy, these business people really are a trip, aren’t they?
01 Aug 06 | vaspers the grate wrote …
CEOs, all of the ethical ones anyway, need to be blogging, and video blogging, and preparing to initiate telepresencing (see Aug. 8, 06 issue of PC Magazine).
CEOs should be the leaders, the pioneers, in new media. But instead it’s their teenage children who are paving the way.
Risk aversion? Gimme a break, the poor darlings.