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  • The Big Lebowski (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray Book + Digital Copy]
    The Big Lebowski (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray Book + Digital Copy]
    starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman
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    The Big Lebowski (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
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    The Big Lebowski - 10th Anniversary Limited Edition
    starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston

A Social Media Sunset

Read Write Web:

"Social media is going to rule the Web until at least 2012 - according to a post by Justin Kistner, a Social Evangelist at web analytics company Webtrends. Kistner also claims that Facebook has become the king of social media."

This all begs the question: when do we abandon the terms and just consider this all part of the norm. When is the social media cake baked?



Mind Map: Three Digital Trends for the New Decade

Three Digital Trends for the New Decade

Have you tried mind mapping? I am a mind mapping fanatic. I find that it really helps me think through challenges and develop innovative solutions. Chris Brogan too is a fan. He uses it to plot out his projects and ensure he's on target. 

I have been giving a talk recently on the three key trends that marketers will need to adapt to in the new decade: 1) the move from a a web of pages to a web of streams, 2) the challenge in becoming more digitally visible in an age of too much noise and 3) the need to become more data driven in everything we do - and with a do-it-yourself attitude (DIY).

Recently I gave a talk on this topic at a conference in Amsterdam and the folks at World of Minds created a mind map of it, which you can find here (PDF) or on Scribd.

What do you think of these? I love when others mind map my speeches and also large events because you get to see how others interpret your thoughts. I have long wanted to create more mind maps here. If I did, what kind of maps would be valuable? Let me know in the comments on Twitter.


Klout to Launch Facebird for Facebook

Later today Klout, an influence tracking tool, is going to launch a new Facebook app called Facebird that helps you understand overlaps in influence between your Twitter and Facebook friends. Facebird will be live later today over on the Klout Labs site. The team gave me a preview yesterday, which you can watch below or over on YouTube.


The Situationally Aware Business 

The following is also my column on

As I write this column it’s the morning after the long Memorial Day weekend and the web is brimming with activity. Google searches are spiking for Ted Koppel, who’s 40-year-old son was tragically found dead. Twitter, meanwhile, is abuzz over WGM – short for the primetime Korean reality show “We Got Married”. This is perhaps a direct reflection of the service’s growing global appeal. Finally, over on Facebook word is spreading of a scam featuring what’s deemed as a “hilarious video”. A CNN news story on the hoax currently has over 10,000 shares.

All of these are disconnected events; a Polaroid snapshot of our psychology at a single moment in time. Some of these memes are ephemeral. Others may be lasting. However, our success as marketers increasingly hinges on having a deep, real-time understanding of our networked environment and how these themes can impact our programs. Enter situational awareness – an essential skill every CMO-level executive and their staff must build and evolve.

Situational awareness, according to Wikipedia, is “the practice of being aware of what is happening around you to understand how information, events, and your own actions will impact your goals and objectives, both now and in the near future”. It’s common throughout the intelligence community. The White House Situation Room, for example, operates a 24/7 Fusion Center that pulls together 3,000 sources of information into three daily briefings for the President. For more, see this fascinating short video.

What’s important to note is that situational awareness is not a substitute for client/brand monitoring, reporting or measurement. Rather, it’s a complementary set of processes that help you form gut insights that make marketing, public relations and/or digital engagement more efficient and effective.

Most CMOs will not need the intricate web of systems that the White House employs. Yet every marketer should be required to make situational awareness part of his/her daily workflow. It all needs to happen in a focused way, at every level and in both client and agency organizations. The good news is that situational awareness can be quite simple. The bad news is that very few people have created the daily systems or habits required to succeed. Here are three simple tools to add to your workday to get started.

Google Trends

Many marketers look first to Twitter and Facebook for consumer insights. However, they often overlook Google. This is a mistake. Far many more people search than those who engage on social networks. Therefore, Google knows more about you than your own mother. And, much the same, day in and day out it can tell us a ton about what we’re thinking as a society. The Google Trends home page is about as good a barometer as any for what the US and the world is thinking about right now. I try to check into this page several times a day. In many ways, it’s like a 24/7 supermarket checkout line.

Seesmic Web

One of my colleagues described Twitter as the new daily newspaper. A blogger who I met recently at a client event described it as “Google with a brain”. While Twitter’s audience pales in comparison to Google or Facebook, there’s no doubt it’s a critical treasure trove of information for what’s top of mind among opinion elites like the media, celebrities and influencers.

One of my favorite situational awareness tools is Seesmic Web, which only requires a browser to run and can sync with mobile device clients that the company has created for every platform. I keep the site open in a tab in my browser with various lists of people who serve as my window into the online world. Over time, this helps me build a deeper understanding of what makes this entire network and its micro communities tick.


While it doesn’t have the same ecosystem of tools that Twitter supports, as Facebook slowly opens up its data it’s ushering in all kinds of new tools. Some of these are invaluable for helping us shape aggregated insights into the mindset of those who have elected to live more public lives on Facebook.

ItsTrending is one such tool. The free site data mines Facebook for the most popular links, images, news stories and videos on an array of topics. Several visits a day are all you need to develop a deeper sense for how Facebook themes and memes can impact your programs.

These are just three – there are hundreds of others, many of them are free. What’s key, however, is to find the right tools and package them into your workflow so that you have a gut feel for the various online environments you are engaging in daily and how the macro themes can play a role in success or failure.


What Twitter Must Learn From TechCrunch in Order to Thrive

The following is also my column in this week's AdvertisingAge. (Photo of Michael Arrington by Thomas Hawk)

Next month marks the fifth anniversary of TechCrunch and the ascent of one of the web's first power bloggers, Michael Arrington.

The TechCrunch story is fascinating as it exposes what many love about social media and the internet: smart risk-taking. This is precisely what helped the technology blog outmaneuver the press and quickly develop and maintain its massive following (along with a dose of controversy along the way).

At the ripe old age of 5, TechCrunch remains a must-read. According to DoubleClick Ad Planner, it reaches an estimated 7.4 million users a month. What's more, it has propelled Arrington into the upper echelon of technology influencers, earning him a coveted spot on the Time 100 list and regular appearances on Charlie Rose. Much of its success lies in Arrington and crew taking some strategic risks -- such as adding unorthodox events. They're not afraid to push the envelope or upset the status quo.

Nevertheless, in many ways, I believe TechCrunch and others from the Blogging Class of 2005 (like Mashable) are the last of their kind -- superstar blogs with iconic founders. The good old days of democratized media, where anyone can launch a blog and achieve worldwide influence, have come to an end. While there are still untapped niches that are crying out for good blogs -- ones that I believe corporations, not just entrepreneurs can fill -- the most profitable topics are spoken for. The window has closed. The game has changed.

Perhaps sensing this, some of blogging's most fervent enthusiasts moved on years ago to focus on Twitter. The age of Twitter began in earnest with a torrent of tweets from the early adopters who attended the 2007 South by Southwest Conference. Over the next two years, it came of age through countless media impressions and most notably a high-profile slot on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in early 2009.

As Twitter mushroomed in influence, it quietly diverted our attention from blogs as the "it" emerging medium. It dawned on us that it's far easier to go where the conversation is, rather than expect people to come to us. What's more, Twitter's 140-character limitation was the perfect antidote for an attention-starved world where media snacking, rather than meals, rules. Blogs such as TechCrunch, however, adapted by feeding on Twitter for scoops, and in turn, powering its continued growth.

Still, Twitter reinvented media before most blogs had a chance to evolve. It was in the right place at the right time. It was simple and a perfect fit for our rising smartphone addiction. What's more, it fed our need for constant entertainment, engagement and ego stroking. Thus, Twitter became the primary window on the world for millions.

But Twitter must not get too comfortable. The only constant on the internet is change. If Twitter's execs don't reinvent its business now, someone or something will do it for them.

The best companies, like great artists, constantly reinvent themselves. Apple today gets more of its revenue from the iPhone than it does from the Macintosh. Facebook, despite an onslaught of controversy, is wisely pushing ahead with its vision to become the social operating system for the web, not just a social network.

"Twitter must not get too comfortable. The only constant on the internet is change. If Twitter's execs don't reinvent its business now, someone or something will do it for them."

Twitter needs to do the same. It's starting down this path by taking greater control over its own destiny. It's slowly adding services, including ad platforms and business tools, that compete directly with some of the most successful companies in its vast ecosystem. But it needs to become more. It needs a vision as grand as these other firms.

Evolution is always controversial -- just ask TechCrunch, Apple or Facebook. They all take their lumps. However, it's the only way an internet business can thrive in an era of constant change. Let's just hope that Twitter can evolve, just as fast as TechCrunch did, before someone or something changes the landscape.

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