Sunday, April 30, 2006

Authority Is in the Blog of the Beholder

When a client asks how a blog's "authority" is determined, I often provide the following response: by the number of other blogs that link to it. I have Dave Sifry to thank that for that bit of wisdom - I've gotten a ton of mileage out it.

My densely populated RSS reader doesn't keep me from visiting scores of blogs every day. As a PR guy, I try to stay on top of the industry, news and j-blogs. As a gear addict, I tap the gadget blogs. As a gamer, I read... you get the picture. My interests - like your own, I'm sure - run the course from A-to-Z and back again. Some of my favorites have earned their place among the blogging elite. Others simply go about their entries, initiating discussions that I - along with scads of other blogophiles - find worthy of participatation.

There's an old adage about opinions - I'll not repeat it here. Let's just say that individual taste plays as much of a role in my own selection of go-to blogs as it does in identifying my influencers. We all know that the blogosphere - with its "37 million sites and 2.3 billion links" - is not about "link love" or who's on top. It's about conversations.

I tell my clients that, too.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Vista to Power New York Times Reader

With their sights set on digital mobile publishing, Microsoft and The New York Times have announced a plan to release a Vista-based platform that will enable on-the-go news junkies to download an electronic copy of the paper and view it on a laptop, tablet or home PC.

Dubbed "Times Reader," the software is expected to debut in beta form in the weeks ahead and "would allow The Times to replicate its look more closely than its Web site now does," according to Katherine Q. Seelye.

While the Times has indicated that ad units would be made available, it has yet to decided whether or not readers would be charged for the service.

Friday, April 28, 2006

IABC Asks "How Do You Use Podcasting?"

Several of my colleagues were among the 300 marketers tapped last month by the Dallas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators as members of the organization sought to discover how podcasts were being used by folks like us.

Yesterday, Bulldog posted an interesting summary of their findings: with a mere 109 practitioners responding to their survey, the IABC found that 61% were "aware of podcasts" but had yet to listen to or execute a program. 23% admitted to tuning in or subscribing, while 8% said they had published at least one.

"What's a podcast?" was asked of the remaining 8%. They've since been stripped of their iPods, tarred, feathered and banned from the industry for life.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Southwest Airlines Blog Takes Flight

With a little help from his friends, Brian Lusk, Manager of Customer Communication and Corporate Editor for Southwest Airlines, has helped launch Nuts About Southwest, the first-ever corporate blog written by airline industry workers.

The company's goal, says Lusk in his first post, "is to earn a bookmark on your browser, or even better, an RSS feed on your reader. We look at this blog as the place where our employees come out to play and we hope you will join us on the playground with this blog by posting your own comments."

Future entries will be written by Southwesterners at all levels of operations and management.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

CBS News Discourages Employee Blogs

At least that's what former anchor Dan Rather told Dave Winer.

Nothing like cutting off your nose to spite your face, eh?

God save the MSM.

Frag Dolls Rule OK

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 43% of all gamers are women. And you know what? They're not all unnaturally-proportioned pixel-vixens. Some of 'em - like Brookelyn, Jinx, Katscratch, Rhoulette, Seppuku and Valkyrie - are real live hotties.

These grrrls are part of an Ubisoft-sponsored unit known as the Frag Dolls, a gaggle of gamers with the skills to clean up in multiplayer match-ups. They play, they podcast, they blog - says leader Valkyrie, "we're here to represent the ladies in gaming with the taste and talent for beating you at your own games."

Frag Dolls Rule OK

What d'ya say, boys - we up for some friendly competition?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Queens Mom Among the New Faces of Aleve

Bayer Consumer Care VP Jay Kolpon has a good feeling about his new television ads for Aleve - he thinks his company's poised to make TV history.

When the first of the spots debuts in May - aka National Arthritis Month - it will introduce a new spokeswoman: Phyllis Ocean, a Rockaway Park Mom who describes herself as "an arthritis sufferer who couldn't watch her youngest son play football because it was too painful to climb the bleachers."

Ocean, writes Phyllis Furman of the Daily News, is part of a growing trend among advertisers to employ "real people" to deliver product messages. This $10 million endeavor - helmed by Omnicom's BBDO - is comprised of thirty-one "documentary style" units, each starring a new face.

Clever, yes, but historic?

We'll see about that.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Judge Okays Surfing on the Job

When New York's Mayor Bloomberg fired a city staffer for playing solitaire on the job back in February, many asked if he'd played his cards right.

Today, reacting to the recent dismissal of a 14-year veteran of the Department of Education, an Administrative Law Judge John Spooner decreed the following:

"It should be observed that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work."

Spooner's suggested punishment for employees who fail to heed warnings to stay off of the Internet? A simple reprimand.

Via AP.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Corpus Christi College Limits MySpace Access

Complaints over slow Internet speeds at a Texas community college has led to a MySpace ban by school officials who blame the social network for gobbling up their bandwidth.

According to August Alfonso, the Del Mar College's chief of information and technology, 40% of all daily Web traffic at the school was attributed to the site. He's since set up measures to prevent students from connecting to the site via the network he oversees.

"This was more about us being able to offer Web-based instruction," added Del Mar president Carlos Garcia.

Student reaction was surprisingly mixed.

Hat-tip to AP.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

LA Times Suspends Blogger

Not one week after blog firings were proclaimed to be down, comes word that an active LA Times business blogger (not to mention award-winning columnist) has been suspended by his employer after he was found to have posted content on their site and across the Web under an assumed name.

According to Michael A. Hiltzik's editors, his covert actions put him in direct "violation of The Times' ethics guidelines, which require editors and reporters to identify themselves when dealing with the public."

The policy - which applies to the print and online editions of the newspaper - begs the following question: how well do you know your do's and don'ts?

Viral Clip of the Week: Ecko Tags Air Force One

Urban outfitter Mark Ecko (check out his Web site, it's way cool!) has come out as the man behind a controversial Web video that made the rounds earlier this week. The clip allegedly captured a graffiti artist in the act of tagging Air Force One.

"I wanted to do something culturally significant," said Ecko, "to create a real pop-culture moment."

To get 'er done, says AP's Ted Bridis, the designer and company "rented a 747 cargo jet at San Bernardino's airport and covertly painted one side to look like Air Force One. Employees signed secrecy agreements and worked inside a giant hangar until the night the video was made."

While the cost for this little stunt was not disclosed, Ecko did admit that it wasn't cheap.