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Remember Friendfeed? The ultimate sharing service that was going to beat Twitter and reach the mainstream in a big way?
Web trending service Compete shows Friendfeed down nearly 30% in September with 750,000 U.S. unique visitors. This is down from just over 1 million unique visitors in August 2009.
Former Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang noted this past weekend, “To be honest, Friendfeed doesn’t have the same appeal it used to post-FB acquisition. I’ll just cut my losses and use Facebook instead.” Robert Scoble, the most popular Friendfeed user, is now using Twitter’s favorites feature to share content. Consultant Louis Gray appears to be using Google Reader to share content he finds interesting. I am unsure if the actual Friendfeed interaction usage for Robert or Louis has dropped.
These days I find myself only loading Friendfeed a couple of times a day. The service seems to load and react slower than pre-acquisition. I receive nearly zero interaction on my shares, feed posts and comments. The ability to drum up a conversation certainly has diminished post-acquisition. Why is this? If the service wasn’t acquired, would the level of interaction still be high? It is interesting to look at how quickly the early adopters packed up their carriages and started the horses after the Facebook acquisition was announced.
Edelman VP Steve Rubel wrote a post yesterday where he discussed why text is still the "king" of the Web. The article is worth reading because the points Rubel makes are solid. He says text is scannable, you can SEO the heck out of text, easier for workers to
slack off reading text vs. video, easier for mobile access and lastly, text is easier to share versus video.
Rubel also discusses blogger Robert Scoble’s disappointment that his videos don’t show up on Techmeme but his text posts do. Scoble went on to say that his videos typically don’t generate a lot of inbound links or conversations on the new crop of chat services. I took a look at why Scoble’s videos might not generate the same attention as his text posts.
This week he’s posted some good articles about how to find a job. But the question is, why don’t his videos get the same attention as his text posts. I’ve posted 400+ videos and typically find similar results. When I post demo videos from a meetup, they don’t get many views. When I post interviews, they typically do better but rarely "awesome" in terms of traffic or discussion. However my videos where I am in the video itself discussing a subject do very well. It’s typically hard to make an interview or demo that exciting – but I feel they are important so I continue to provide the content.
In Robert’s case, part of the issue is brand fragmentation. Robert works for FastCompany magazine and runs the FastCompany.tv online video section yet he posts many videos on his own blog. I imagine that his FC audience is a bit different than his blog audience and perhaps the blog audience isn’t interested in his discussions with various CEOs and other technology executives. By linking to the video content, readers would also have a chance to engage with additional content on the FC video site.
In looking at the FastCompany.tv site, a slight rework might be in order. There are three main sections of video content on the site: ScobleizerTV, WorkFastTV and FastCompanyLive. WorkFastTV hasn’t been updated since October and FastCompanyLive hasn’t been updated in a month. Yet all of this fresh material only lives on his blog. I just don’t understand why FC allows this pattern to continue. It makes the FC site appear stale when there’s no reason for it. If the WorkFast is no longer being produced, move it off to the right so it’s not the first thing viewers see when loading the site.
From a technical standpoint, there are a variety of changes they could make to the Drupal installation to help with better site optimization which I think would also help in increasing discussion, linking and overall traffic. I also think the site could be improved to make the experience a bit warmer – remember, with text it’s quick-in, quick-out. With video, you are going to sit on the page for a longer time, make the experience something that makes the user want to hang around.
My suggestion would be to keep all videos on FastCompany.tv and point to them from Scoble’s blog. From my perspective it feels like an overall video strategy would help Robert get his video views up and also increase the amount of discussion that takes place around the videos. The strategy will help to reduce the brand fragmentation and increase the views because readers and viewers will know where to look for videos.
While I typically try to stay away from discussing an individual, in this case I think this discussion can benefit anyone trying to run multiple sites with video and text.
In the past, I’ve written about talent agents in many different capacities including music and video games. Some music industry pundits would say that the most promising position to have in the upcoming years is on the “agent” side, and for the competitive video game space, major talent houses such as CAA & UTA are creating divisions to rep extremely talented gamers.
Steve Rubel blogs about three Internet Careers that Won’t Soon Exist and one of his three are digital talent agents. Excerpted below:
Digital Talent Agents
During the AdAge Digital Conference last week, a Digital Agent with a major talent agency talked about how they have a group of people who crawl the web in search of undiscovered musicians, artists, etc. These agents then pair promising amateurs with Hollywood or branded entertainment projects. I last wrote about this three years ago. Then it was emerging business. Now, however, it is becoming the norm.
Rubel further makes the point that the digital talent agent will not exist in the future because there really is no difference between a digital agent and traditional (offline) agent. Digital/traditional lines are blurring and there should be no seperation. He raises an extremely good point here.
For the foreseeable future, digital talent agents aren’t going anywhere, IMHO. There are too many people at the top of the pyramid that still do not understand the digital space and will want dedicated teams to oversee it. Not everyone loves integration…. just look at the advertising world.
I sat through presentation recently by John Battelle as he spoke on behalf of Federated Media (his company). After listening to him speak about the position of his company, I can see them as the next UTA or CAA… he’s got many of the top celebs of the digital world under representation agreements. I’m not sure what his contracts state, but he’s able to help generate revenue on their behalf through integrated marketing opportunities. I’d like to see him go beyond (or maybe it’s already done) the traditional marketing arrangements and do a “management” division and really step on the toes of the big guys.
The talent agency world is fascinating…
Darren Herman is a digital media enthusiast and serial entrepreneur. Herman writes about technology, entrepreneurship and digital media at his blog, http://www.darrenherman.com.
I want to discuss a serious subject tonight. The topic: communication. This is by far the most important part of your startup. It's not the money, the Aeron chairs or the parties. Improving communications is the reason I started the video startup idea. To help you craft your message. But tonight I want to talk about communications in general.
As you begin to communicate your message your words matter. What you say, when you say it, how you say it all matter. Today we have grown men and women walking around with live recorders on their heads (see Jeremiah, Justin, Justine, Robert so far). Acting or saying the wrong thing can bury your startup faster than a down server ever could.
Update: Jeremiah in the comments noted that he does not wear a headcam but rather a tripodcam.
I am using the following example since it is the most recent one. But there are hundreds of others as well. Steve Rubel posted a Twitter message that said, "PC Mag is another. I have a free sub but it goes in the trash". Within a short period of time, the Editor-in-Chief of PC Magazine noted in a blog post that he is considering no longer allowing pitches from Edelman, one of the largest agencies and Steve's employer. Steve did a 180 and apologized (possibly because Edelman execs told him to). I wish the apology would have been simpler than it was. "I am sorry" works very well. Instead we get several times how much he supports the magazines and what he has done in the past. All of that just leads to more critical views on not only his original comment but now his apology. Just apologize and move on. Forget the offer of a drink.
Of course I don't get why Steve had a need to Twitter that statement in the first place. This is why I don't get Twitter. But I will leave that for another day. No one cares about this stuff. I am sure we will see more of the same from the entire Twitter community as these short messages are so easy to type and send. No thought behind them as in a blog entry.
What's funny is that this apology gained Steve another 11 backlinks (I guess 12 including mine.) (side note: controversy creates cash) Did Steve really mean what he said? Does he really throw away (I hope he recycles!) the PC magazine every month? Years ago, a mentor of mine told me something which I have always thought of as a critical phrase, "Perception equals reality."
When you go out and party, just remember that Scoble and his headcam might be around the corner. When you are speaking to someone at a conference, Justin might be right there to capture that one bad moment. You are in the women's bathroom chatting it up with a pal and Justine is at the next stall taping it all. Nothing is sacred anymore.
On CenterNetworks I enabled a feature on Day 1 called "preview." This is in place for every post I write and every comment you/I write. Why? Because I want a chance to re-read what I write before clicking the Go Live button. It gives me a chance to step away for a second, breathe, re-read and then post. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't make it perfect, but it sure has helped me to fix a few stories in the past. While it means I might not be first to a story, it means that I do my best to make sure what I post is what I mean. I don't think WordPress has this option but they should. I think it would save a lot of the communication fauxpaus many of us do.
Everyone makes mistakes, everyone. Dog the Bounty Hunter says that you can never know what it's like to succeed if you don't fail.
Please be careful and THINK before you click. Stop, drop and roll for a fire becomes Stop, re-read and think for an online entry.
Tony has an excellent read about this topic as well on Deep Jive Interests.
Since my first days in the forums world, we have always (pretty much) been able to edit our posts. Whether they are initial forum threads, or replies/quotes, click the edit button and you can edit or delete your post completely. Yet in the blogging space, this is not the case.
About a month ago, Steve Rubel started discussing this topic. His post discusses deleting of comments by users, but I think he also means editing. He had many comments and most seem to believe that you should think before writing and comments should not be deletable (is that a word?). But what about misspelled words, grammar errors, and other irregularities?
I am not sure if this has anything to do with where Steve got the inspiration for his post, but TechCrunch had an article during the same week titled, "Geni Blew It." Several hours later, Mike had a chance to catchup with the founder of Geni, David Sacks, and then updated the post accordingly. I think he did the right thing by editing the post to reflect the current information. But what if someone wanted to edit their comment on that post to reflect the updated information? They can't along with the same issue on 8 billion other blogs.
My belief is that there is absolutely no reason why someone should not be able to edit their comments. I am not sure if this started because the initial blog software wanted to make it easy to comment so they removed the need to create a login like a forum does. Whatever the reason, it's time to make a change and let users edit their comments. Should really be relatively easy. From what I can tell, add an edit button. Then a link is sent to the user's email. When they click that link, they are brought to a page allowing them to edit/delete the comment. This would allow minimal changes to the systems (wordpress, movable type, etc.) and keep the simple name/email/url comment posting the same.
In case anyone is interested, here on CenterNetworks, you can edit your comment if you are logged in. So if you want to edit, then register. Registering also removes the cache so you see the posts immediately!
So my summary to every blogger out there, let people edit their comments. Why should they be treated any differently than you are? Remember, everyone makes boo-boos.
I am not sure if I can go to a conference today without hearing the word "local". It is hot. Why? Because it's a great way to get into a niche that isn't yet swamped with other sites. When Steve Rubel asked Jeff Jarvis how to get into blogging, Jeff replied that they should consider local. With sites like Yelp, Upcoming, Meetup, etc. growing in popularity, people want to know what's happening and shaking in the local scene. down2night launched last week to show people what's going down at a local event or party.
Whether it's checking out a local barber, finding out which pizza place makes the best pie, or where to party, local is the hot thing for new bloggers. And if my 2007 prediction comes true, people will spend more time offline this year. And they will need local web sites to tell them where to go and what to do!
I think the key to mastering the local scene is not just to say focus on New York, Berlin, Tokyo or any other city. But find a niche within that city market. Own that niche. Then you could potentially copy the same model in other cities. Savory has done a good job at this in the high-end food space.
And, here is a picture I snapped in Manhattan. Bet you can't guess where I snapped it. Let this picture serve as a reminder that you can really get down to local's local when you target available women and men on one avenue in NYC. Of course the site does not appear to be as targeted.
Update: Dan at Wikia IM'd me that they launched a local product last week.
Here are my notes from the Professional Blogger session. Includes Peter Rojas from Engadget, Steve Rubel from Micropersuasion, Jeff Jarvis and Elizabeth Spiers.
My thoughts are that overall I didn’t get much out of this session on “how to be a power blogger” — frankly it just felt like an open discussion about blogging but not how to move up in the ranks. Jeff seemed to dominate the conversation during the time (which appeared to end early). Elizabeth didn’t smile once. Check my notes below. I tried to grab what I thought was important. Get the audio file to listen to the full conversation. These 4 bloggers are considered at the top of their game. I would have loved tips on how to become a top blogger as well. Oh well, on to the next session!
Jeff Jarvis says – telling me who to link to is crap. It’s just a bloody conversation. WHerever I see it, I link to it. Bfd.
Steve Rubel – it’s blogosphere high.
Jeff Jarvis – it’s boring to keep going on and on about this sillyness.
Steve Rubel – how many emails do you get a day from PR professionals.
Peter Rojas – several hundred overall. Maybe like 2% are relevant to what we are doing. It is important that the PR person knows about the site. We get many announcements from people who we already posted about. Have an awareness about what we are doing and treat me like a human being. PR people would be better served by treating human vs. sending out mass emails.
Steve Rubel – There are well-known and lesser-known bloggers.
Jarvis – Top 100 is a meaningless list.
Elizabeth Spiers – our ad software is smart to know how to serve ads from our advertisers on topic pages we write about.
Jeff Jarvis – it’s about personal integrity (regarding church vs state on advertising). I try to keep my disclosure page up-to-date. I will trash them if needed.
Steve: Audio/video – a lot of bloggers seem to settle in either audio or video.
Jeff Jarvis – I think TV is being reinvented now. Blogging is an advantage because you can write it up and show the video.
Steve: are we going to see more bloggers on TV?
Peter: people are already – you can get Rocketboom directly on your Tivo.
Peter: we make a promise to our users as to what they will see everyday.
Steve: What is your best tip for building an audience?
Elizabeth – publish constantly. Twelve posts a day – 8-10 minimum.
Jeff – Link out – otherwise you are not part of the conversation. Then people will learn about your site.
Peter – pick a niche or an area the smallest area you can find and try to own it. Become the respected voice for this niche. You will become a respected voice over time.