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Picking On Social Media – Buzz Kill – Scoblizers – Linchpins – Etc.

It’s been a fascinating weekend for me and Social Media. Leo Laporte announced “Social media, I gave you the best years of my life, but never again.” The Joy Of Tech quickly responded with what might be my favorite comic ever from them.

While this was going on, I found myself engrossed in Seth Godin’s Linchpin in a way none of his other books have ever been able to grab me. Whereas the themes are considerably better than the age old “what is social media good for?” question, consider this quote:

“Don’t even get me started on Twitter. There are certainly people who are using it effectively and productively. Some people (a few) are finding that it helps them do the work. But the rest? It’s perfect resistance, because it’s never done. There’s always another tweet to be read and responded to. Which, of course, keeps you from doing the work. Where did your art go while you were tweeting?”

BTW, I was reading Linchpin on my Kindle device – not the iPad, iPhone, or anything else. You’ll notice I tweeted a quote once (and then sent the above one this morning) but I found myself engrossed in the act of just reading, … amazing.

Scoble responded to the conversation with a fascinating Tweet: “While what @leolaporte wrote today contains a lot of truth you can only quit once and keep your credibility. That is why I don’t quit.

I did a general look for more on the conversation and found little. Kind of sad actually as there are some really important questions that need to be asked:

  • Is social media nothing more than, as Leo put it, “an immense waste of time?
  • Are we just playing this game because everyone else is? Are we all in this because, as Robert put it, “you can only quit once and keep your credibility?”
  • Even worse, is this stuff keeping us from “doing the work” as Seth wrote?

I think it comes down to these five simple statements.

  • There are very specific, very clear, VERY STRATEGIC reasons to use Social Media. These are not always embraced by the people with the most followers or the book contracts.
  • If you are engaged in social media because everyone else it, STOP. That’s not enough of a reason.
  • If you are afraid to STOP because you are worried about being labeled a quitter, consider the benefits of being labeled SMART – or actually GETTING STUFF DONE.
  • Realize that the tool of social media is just that, a TOOL. It can be used to do great things, do stupid things, do GREAT GOOD and do GREAT DAMAGE.
  • Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that it is so easy to hate the things we don’t understand. Do you truly understand the social media landscape that you find yourself playing in?

Fun fact – I get asked which Twitter client I use multiple times a week but am only asked a few times a year why I do this whole social media thing.

Podcast Advertising Appeals to “Unreachable” Consumers? Can We Sell Ourselves Any Shorter?

Last week, the ADM (my favorite association for our space) teamed with Edison Research (the smartest market research firm in the world) to produce a Webinar called “Consumer Attitudes On Podcast Advertising.” The recording of the whole event has been placed at their site – I highly recommend a viewing.

With a title like “Consumer Attitudes On Podcast Advertising” and a firm like Edison who actually does research, as opposed to prove points for money, you can imagine the content presented. It was dead on, and from what I remember from statistics class, very viable in the polling methodology.

So, I’ll say it again (despite what the comments below will state), this is the best research to date on Podcast Advertising. By Podcast Advertising we mean ads inside of free publically available Podcasts. The research was solid there, and the prospects were good for that option.

Again, fans of the ADM and Edison and what they’re doing.

But … (you knew this was coming).

I still think strong that we’re selling ourselves short – way short.

The power of “New Media” is not that we’re a faster, cheaper “Old Media” with swear words. If the only difference between “us” and “them” is that we don’t have to get a broadcast license, and our biggest battle is in proving to the world that “we matter too” when it comes to CPM ad inserts, … I want out.

Again, not trying to criticize the work done here, but trying to encourage focusing on the things that matter:

I truly believe that if our space spent half the energy it currently spends on proving legitimacy (and complaining about the lack of advertisers) on exploring and trying alternative (do I dare say “new”) profit models, we’d see ten times the growth (and a lot more smiles at our industry events).

My goal here is a simple one: I’d like to suggest that we spend additional time (and equal effort) examining the options that have a considerably higher success rate so far as legitimate standards and part of the “dialogue.” The day the ADM Sponsors a study on “Non-Traditional Revenue Trends In Downloadable Media” and the New Media Expo offers a “Death Of The CPM – Alternative RevGen Models In New Media” track is the day thousands of Podcasters quit their day job.

Another report or blog post on how listeners don’t like pre-rolls just ain’t gonna cut it.

Let me respond to the first couple of comments before they even get entered below:

Yes, folks like Leo Laporte will be able to use slides from this presentation to bump up their CPMs. God bless ’em as they do. Remember that not only does Leo collect way more in sponsorship money than most, he also collects way more in audience donations than most Podcasters will ever make (even after this report is released). He also partners with others for free bandwidth (it’s the fully disclosed affiliate model people), has invested a ton of cash in his studio (I don’t hear him having debates about the “best USB microphone under $100”), and has a full staff behind him. He’s playing all the angles and I respect him for it. Please remember, this is the model Leo loves and Leo has been able to make profitable. It doesn’t make it gospel.

For the bit about “opportunists” are the ones looking to revenue from the premium model (it’s in the recording), I’d suggest you do a search on what people thought about “paying for television” in the 70s – and then make a list of ten friends who don’t have cable tv today.

For the “I don’t want to sell out” crowd, I ask how an ad for something (and remember, the study told us ones read by the host are best) is any less of a sell out than an merchandise line, premium option or affiliate play. Disclose away and enjoy the benefits of an audience that actually like you.

For the people don’t pay for content world, I beg you to explain HBO to me.

I guess, in short, I’d like to suggest that we got options people … why won’t we take them (let alone talk about them)?

Flame away …

Is RSS Dead?

After listening to (o.k., watching), the fabulous TWiT #228 on my Roku over the break, I’ve decided to test a few things here at Colligan.com. There was some discussion about the relevancy of RSS and content subscriptions, etc. that I need to look into.

You’ll need to bear with me for the next few weeks and help me in this test. I’ll need you to click through to read the rest (please do if you’re interested in this topic).

Blogworld And New Media Expo Report

Update #1: As per request at the “Profitable Podcaster” breakfast Meetup we had a Blogworld and New Media Expo, we have launched a Profitable Podcasting Page at Facebook. Link – http://www.facebook.com/profitablepodcasting

Update #2: Just got off phone with Rick, he loved my ideas and I’ll certainly be (a bigger) part of this next year. I recommend you be part of it as well.

I write this at the Las Vegas Airport with really bad coffee but some very good (free wifi). I figured I’d dash out of my thoughts on the event before I get on the plane.

  • I’m coming back next year. Rick Calvert brought a ton of people together that I really need to see, shake hands with, hug, make deals with and more. It may not have been the complete list – but it was a heck of a lot more complete than any other option out there. I’ll be back. In what capacity? Keep reading.
  • “Missing Ontario” is silly. I heard from a few Podcasters that they “missed” the Ontario days. That’s somewhat as smart as missing the days of the 2400 baud modem (ask your parents). We need to continue to grow as an industry and you do that by having your industry expos in towns that host industry expos.
  • The companies who didn’t attend are doing far more damage than their Vegas bill could ever rack up. If we are going to become an “industry” we need to act like an “industry” – that means we show up to our events, buy booths, court new customers, appreciate the old ones, raise expectations and standards, etc. “Not knowing if it is worth it” is a weak response. Lead us with a strong one. Mad props to Leo Laporte committing to bring his entire staff to next year’s event. We will hold you to it. To the companies who hosted parties, we’ll get you the press you deserve to believing in this. I challenge Jim Louderback of Revision3 and even Adam Curry of Mevio to do the same. Wizzard – where were you? Microsoft, Apple, etc., wake up.
  • We need to expand the term “monetization.” I realized in the middle of day 2 that for some the term “monetization” means seeing the first elusive dollar for their efforts while for others it means breaking 7 and 8 digit barriers. When I shared news of a Podcast generating more than a thousand dollars a day (that was actually willing to speak it’s name and show proof), I saw half the room with an excited look in their eyes of what was possible while I saw others staring with a blank look that screamed “so, should I do those Adsense things from the Google?” Maybe next year we have a “Monetization” track and then a “Real Money” track? Thoughts?
  • We’re grownups – and we need to act like it. I want this to be constructive, but the closing keynote was insulting and damaging. The pride where by which the participants spewed constant and consistent profanities and potty level sex jokes made us look like a bunch of silly middle schoolers with a tiny bit of freedom but no understanding of how the real world works. There is more to new media than being able to swear. I have no problem with profanity and abhor censorship but when you go to NC-17 levels of “humor” just because you can, it doesn’t convince anyone to take you seriously. Even Vegas knows how to label adult stuff. Nuff said, and I’m sure I’ll get some “sh*t” for this one.
  • We need focus. This is an extension of the thoughts above but goes in the other direction as well. Like we need to expand the concept of monetization to include “real” versus “beer” money we need to move from the fan and hobbyist club mentality to working together to build this industry. I understand how complicated it is to even hope that thousands of people attending your even will do anything, but I think we can kick it up a notch here. This is a much a comment for the vendors, presenters and attendees as it is a comment for the event as a whole.
  • My offer to Rick. Rick, we have the makings here of something pretty fabulous and special. I’d love to help next year in any way I can. I’ve got a an idea a bit too complex to share in this blog (plus the flight is about to board) that I’d like to run that by you as well. I think I “get” what you’re trying to do here and my concept will (I think at least) further your solid agenda. I hope we can chat once you catch up on your sleep.

I would really appreciate your thoughts on this one. Please leave them below.