Friday, August 01, 2014

The Digital Trail

My oft repeated phrase

digital assets are extremely portable and easily disseminated

applies to all aspects of the work place.  Don't believe me?  Ask Jonathan Waters, former director of the Ohio State marching band.  He swore he didn't swear at band members among other things.  Turns out, there's a recording by one of his drum majors of a disciplinary meeting, and The Chronicle covered that last week.

Lois Lerner's ongoing email saga this week moved to her BlackBerry account.  In her back and forth with a friend, she called one political faction "assholes".  While the ability to locate her Outlook-based correspondence continues, the idea of locating things within her phone reminds me of another person, then Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, and his question of "can they get my texts."

I'm left once again with the good ole Earl Long School of Communication.  The late Louisiana governor (and many other politicians in other regions -- I recall Uncle Earl because of regionalism -- the phrase isn't original to him) famously advised:

Don't write what you can say, don't say what you can't whisper, don't whisper what you can't wink

Sunday, July 13, 2014

EULA Strikes Again

Welcome to Matt's Cafe Internete, where . . . not unlike Rick's Cafe Americain . . . we are shocked, shocked, to learn that your personal data is being used and manipulated.

Please people -- the Zuck and Co. never make a move without having pre-planned (and planted) the change in the End User License Agreement, now known more as the "ToS" for Terms of Service.

Kudos to Forbes who discovered that once again, four months prior to the "manipulation" experiment in some folks newsfeeds that Facebook added that to your EULA.  Read more here.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

It's not Engagement Without Interaction

A follow-up thought for my colleagues who attended the Association of Louisiana Alumni Executives talk last week.  You can message all day long, but the interaction comes when you do two things.  The obvious one: enable and answer comments.  The second, sign your posts.  Here's a recent and somewhat random example.  I'm putting out the note about how friends and followers can do a little to beat the Facebook algorithm and see more from us by clicking to "Get Notifications" (BTW -- have you been promoting that to your Facebook followers?).

That's not what Susan Littleton wanted to know, and she used that opportunity to ask her question.  I didn't have the answer, but took the time to acknowledge her question and say when we might have an answer on honor roll lists.

And, see you liked the comment?  What do you think the chances are that we got one more dedicated follower?

Friday, June 13, 2014

More Reasons for Caution!

For some time I've encouraged the avoidance of ! in social media posts based both on research (see my image -- a staple in my social media presentations) and personal preference.  Today, a couple of new items supporting the sparing use of ! -- but also one meme that is promoting it.

Like the use of more than two hash tags, spam filters are looking for the use of ! to replace "i" in subject lines, and may catch your enthusiasm as well.  They are really looking for the multiples as this column on how to avoid the spam filter notes (irony: of the 10 bullet points, three of them used an exclamation point).

A little Australian flair to stress the downside of the multiple marks, and another on PR writing technique (see item four) that using them along with all caps undercuts credibility.

No less than the New York Times weighed in against the exclamation in emails back in 2011 -- no surprise for the stuffy Old Gray Lady -- but gives me a great new piece of ammunition courtesy of Mark Twain.  America's storyteller brings it all home:

One should never use exclamation points in writing. It is like laughing at your own joke.

The judicious use of the mark, however, may be something we have to consider.  Arguing a similar line of thought that I preach -- that digital communication strips off all the context, Drake Braer points out they can be useful to take the harsh off a cold read.  Then again, the friendly in this example gets to the point of sounding like you're yelling at me:

This infographic and it's back-up research tends to support the idea that adding them gets you retweets -- so is this a platform specific plus?  Reading into the article to me affirms the my original position.  For all the good an exclamation may bring in a retweet, it has the same deleterious effect on click through rate.  I want you to read something or see something -- and the ! has demonstrated negative impact.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Future from the Past

They promised me jet packs and robot housemaids.  So my vision of what a future should look like is framed by what childhood popular culture abounded.  Results in a primary colored pop world of the 80s and 90s.

Wondering out loud -- when so much of the vision of the future was presented as dystopian to Gen X and Y, is it no surprise that their graphics are dark and stoic?  My Batman wasn't nearly as goth as my kid's Dark Knight.

A roundabout way to this new nugget -- how much of today's networked world was foretold in some report from 1982.  My first cynical question is: how many other reports that said we'd see a blossoming of craft printing are forgotten.

Still, a lot of where we are is correct as the Pew Research folks point out.  How close?

“Electronic home information systems…create classes of people based on interests, skills, and even specialized languages. As it becomes easier to link with various others of these classes, to establish relationships with members of these classes, to identify with them, ties with traditional peer group members may break down.”

Or, as the kids say, social cra-cra friends.

Another moment to plug my favorite single book and my favorite quote.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kansas Follows Through with Policy

After backing away, the Kansas Board of Regents moved ahead with a strong social media policy for its faculty and staff.  Read from the local media.

From The Told-You-So Files

Remember back in the day when this space foretold and advocated for branded journalism?

Another reminder that the future is now.

Here is both the lede and the takeway from an article that you really should go ahead and click above to read fully:

One former USA Today editor says that he's jumping ship to the world of content marketing because editorial is dead. Is there any business model that can save the future of news?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Most Expensive Free Thing in the World is . . .

Social media.

Without a doubt.  Reminded of this fact listening to the pitch session for one of our design classes.  Our College of Fine Arts graciously asked if I'd serve as a "judge" for four branding designs, and one of the teams made social media their lead creative.  Outstanding, I'm thinking, until one of the presenters says:

"Because social media is free, and we know we won't have a large budget."

In the Q&A, I asked them, why did they think social media was free?  Cause it doesn't cost anything to sign up for Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc.

Dose of real-world now, kids.  What does your time as a design cost?  Um, not sure.  Is your creative time not billable?  Not valuable?

They got it pretty quick -- and today, here's a link off PRSA's daily digest of info that reinforces once again, the great myth that social is free.

And, the only free thing more expensive than social media?

Bad social media.