Echo, Echo, Echo

Who has time to manage all these channels separately? No one. So you choose a few and then, as Emily Dickinson would have you, "close the door." Leave the others alone. I'm sure the serene among us can do that, "Oh, I choose Facebook because that's where all my friends are..."  But why must I do that? So ping and posterous and hootsuite are finding me easy prey -- integrate them all into one experience, they say.  Oh, and then each of the channels starts to offer internal integration, and so on and so on.

Well, this is a long apology for the echo echo echo that I inadvertently create among all the channels when I lose track of which channel I cross linked among all the others.  And it's a test -- I think this will only post once, but let's find out!

And here's my advice to people like me who want to find ways to make cross connections simpler -- take out your notebook or your iPhone when you cross link and WRITE IT DOWN. It's a lot easier to unravel if you have a scrap of documentation...

Posted via email from Knowledge Management Online


Most complicated promo ever

Others who get this Best Buy promo page invite -- did you get invited here after clicking on Best Buy in Shopkick iphone app? Just curious. Also, are you ready to read the conditions of play? Wow. I don't think anyone with a full time job and a hobby can keep track of their standing against this offer...or maybe there's an automated updater that get sent to your email. Anyhow, it's clear that retailers have figured out that the gaming impulse may as well be used to their benefit, not just left laying around idle...

in reference to: Free $1,000 Best Buy Gift Card (view on Google Sidewiki)


Winky Dink and You - Back to the roots of interacting with the electronic crowd.

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Winky Dink And You was a CBS television children's show that aired from 1953 to 1957, on Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m./9:30 central. It was hosted by Jack Barry, and featured the exploits of a cartoon character named Winky Dink (voiced by Mae Questel) and his dog Woofer. The show, created by Harry Prichett, Sr. and Ed Wyckoff, featured Barry and his sidekick, the incompetent Mr. Bungle (Dayton Allen), introducing clips of Winky Dink, noted for his plaid pants, tousled hair, and large eyes.

Praised by Microsoft mogul Bill Gates as "the first interactive TV show," the show's central gimmick was the use of a "magic drawing screen", which was a large piece of vinyl plastic which stuck to the television screen via static electricity. A kit containing the screen and various Winky Dink crayons could be purchased for 50 cents. At a climactic scene in every Winky Dink short, Winky would arrive upon a scene which contained a connect the dots picture. He would then prompt the children at home to complete the picture, and the finished result would help him continue the story. Examples include drawing a bridge to cross a river, an axe to chop down a tree, or a cage to trap a dangerous lion. Many children would omit the Magic Screen and draw on the television screen itself, to the annoyance of their parents. Conversely, children would often forget to remove the screen, which would remain on the TV until someone realized the picture was not very bright and had a gray-green tinge.

Another use of the interactive screen was to decode messages. An image would be displayed, showing only the vertical lines of the letters of the secret message, which viewers at home would quickly trace onto their magic screen. A second image would then display the horizontal lines, completing the text.

A final use of the screen was to create the outline of a character with whom Jack Barry would have a conversation. It would seem meaningless to viewers without the screen, further encouraging its purchase.

The program was wildly successful because of its pioneering interactive marketing scheme, and Winky Dink became one of television's most popular characters of the 1950s. However, the show's production was halted despite its modest popularity due to concerns about radiation in television sets affecting children and because of parents' complaints about children drawing on the screen.

The show was revived in syndication for 65 episodes beginning in 1969 and ending in 1973. In the 1990s, a new "Winky Dink Kit" emerged on the market, containing a magic screen, crayons, and all-new digitized Winky Dink and You episodes.

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I'm working on mobile applications and mobile interfaces for standard applications now, and it's started a new part of my brain fizzing into connections with very interesting material. Interesting to me, anyway...

I was thinking about the history of interaction (or perhaps my history of interaction) and Winky Dink returned to me with a thump. Interaction is a concept, not a technology, and Winky Dink proved it. I probably remember it so vividly because I got quite a thump when my Dad saw my crayon drawing of a ladder on the TV set screen. Memorable. Maybe even PTSD memorable...I awake screaming from Star-Headed Alien nightmares...not really.

There are so few barriers to possibility in this new mobile universe (except for the 64x960 screen size). I'm reflecting on how very limiting technology capabilities have been on the ideas that we execute -- especially within a big corporate infrastructure. And shouldn't we be teaching classes on how constraining in-place corporate infrastructure can be in university CSEE programs? -- otherwise you only learn about it as your heart breaks professionally.

But mobile puts me outside of this pale -- I step away from the millstone. It also puts a lot more pressure on actual Web Services (documented and packaged, not just sketched and then embedded in a single use, or is that just us?).

But there is such freedom in this moment. Back to Winky Dink and the faceless millions who might be persuaded to draw the ladder on the screen. I think also of the cell phone symphonies. What can we do together across these devices? Wow.

Most things, the deeper you get into the minutia, the more mundane the affect, the more prosaic the whole thing becomes, but this is having the opposite effect on me. Even the nay-saying that comes from FUD doesn't extinguish the excitement. Wow.

Posted via email from Knowledge Management Online


State Farm acting on Allstate agent angst - Chicago Tribune

The memo said State Farm is offering agents near Allstate office closings a "50 percent co-op" reimbursement on certain print, radio and billboard ads appealing to prospective customers who like being represented by an agent.

So if a State Farm agent located near an affected Allstate agency spends $1,000 in approved advertising, State Farm will reimburse them $500 of the expense.

"Who can blame State Farm or any other insurer for taking advantage of Allstate's misstep?" said Jim Fish, executive director of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents.

He said State Farm's move is occurring as Allstate seems to be reconsidering its agency cuts.

Allstate recently announced plans to seek new agency owners in a number of states, including more than 290 for Oklahoma, Nevada, Texas, Missouri and Colorado.

"The problem is that they have alienated the agency force and are frantically trying to stem the bleeding by attempting to hire replacement agents for those who are departing," Fish said.

In an e-mailed statement, Allstate said its goal is to increase the number of offices in local communities.

"We're doing that, in part, by continuing to actively recruit new agency owners to ensure we maintain a strong local presence and provide our customers the superior service they deserve," the company said.

New deals: The pace of deals to buy banks, not just ones that have been seized by the government, will likely pick up in the next 12 to 18 months, according to Keefe Bruyette Woods.

The investment bank said market fragmentation — the Chicago area is the most fragmented banking market among the 10 biggest cities — and management age will fuel some deals.

Also, the banking industry's recovery is likely to be "slow and arduous," with "higher capital requirements likely to spark conversations by bank managements about whether to maintain independence," the report said.

Potential buyers include PNC, FirstMerit and U.S. Bank.

"Potential buyers who could become sellers," or banks that will make acquisitions in the short term but eventually could be bought by larger institutions that like their franchise value, include Itasca-based First Midwest and Chicago-based MB Financial, the report said.

Contact Becky Yerak at byerak@tribune.com or 312-222-4283, and follow her at twitter.com/beckyyerak

When will these strategies start to include locally oriented online advertising options as well? Facebook local ads, Linkedin Local ads, Civic website banner ads, Google AdWords pointed at specific geo-tags? It's odd to me that the "online" marketing economy continues to run separately and not even very much in parallel with traditional media. With tools like "Scanlife" offering device integration for print ads and printed documents and links to websites, landing pages, ads, offers, coupons, Whatever, I just don't see the barrier to integrating the two types of campaigns. My purse is smaller -- it holds my iPhone. If Delta can manage an iPhone boarding pass, surely our enormous insurance companies can start to absorb the fact that news comes in through the mobile screen, so ad strategies should follow them there...Hey, State Farm -- Give me a call: we can chat.

Posted via email from Knowledge Management Online


Your Ticket to the Mobile Shakedown Cruise: Sites vs. Apps

Stop obsessing about apps, go back to optimizing sites for mobile --  Google message, repeated at DEMO yesterday.  Here's what I say to that -- OKAY, let's do that. It's less expensive, it's inevitable, and it is really no different from packaging the "whateveritis" for delivery as a mobile app -- whoops, we seem to have come full circle.  I think it's all the same thing, when you apply the advice to the actual real world.

Looking out at my domain of content and interactions available to handling in either way, every single one that I see would start with the same ten tasks, whether aiming at app or access. Here again is another example of the developers of demos and the visionaries creating philosophical discussions that are not very useful for those of us standing in the trench next to the broken pipe.

It's all esoteric development skill sets and it looks like there's a lot of overlap, if you look for it and plan for it. In the real world, I'd rather not choose between them -- I'd rather build the new presentation skin for all this legacy "whateveritis" using the techniques that optimize a platform-straddling stance. I need it available to both as the debate boils on.

It's under the skin that the work needs to be done -- a mobile app, a mobile access are all looking for a clarity of UI that I still need to develop. I'd better get us started on that. 

You guys can keep arguing about apps vs. sites. We have a business to run.

Posted via web from Knowledge Management Online


Managing channels is sooo much easier than managing knowledge: very tempting distraction

People usually ask for the channel, and hope the strategy comes along with it. "We need a Facebook page," is a great example -- It's sincere, but not as descriptive as it may sound. Last time I faced "We need a Facebook page," it turned out that maybe a mobile app would fill the need instead.
The culprit here is our collective feeling that "this stuff" cannot be fully understood, that the ordinary rules of business somehow don't apply...but that's nonsense. Of course they apply. It doesn't matter if you call the online service "spitwad" or "curlylocks" --- it's all still subject to the same rules of business that all the in-place decision-makers should find familiar.  There's a customer with money and there's a company with something to sell. "This stuff" tends to remove the barriers between them, but the basic moves are the same.
It's time to get those iron-jawed executives back to their "show me" position -- or you are going to have a mess on your hands.
First basic move: Unless it moves you towards your objective, don't waste time on it.  Don't rush into a channel before connect it up with how it's going to add value to your business. It doesn't need to be analyzed to death, but you do need to have a purpose in mind, or else you'll just flail around. And you might get hurt. No one would mount even a small ad campaign without a creative brief -- follow the same model for social media.
Second basic move: Use your objective to trim down your scope of effort. This is a massive, seductive world: it's training on the hoof, hot and cold running knowledge management on demand, business associates reaching out to -- well, to sell to you, also. Keep your focus on your purpose as you design your use of these channels. For instance, I increasingly find I don't need a blog in the mix, when the actual objectives are examined. You might be best served via Twitter by itself (are you fly-fishing for topical interest? Poke a tweet out there every other hour; keep it moving), or a Facebook page by itself (does your content stay still and wait for be found? You might focus your effort on a Facebook page and Adwords) -- Hoard your energy reserves, trim your channel use according to the campaign.
Third basic move: Call it a campaign, and pull all the channels under the campaign. Keep the scope under control, but don't miss out on the power of using the same effort to feed multiple channels in different ways. Be expansive as you design your campaign, but then be hardnosed in chosing which elements to use.  Put the metrics under the campaign -- measure what will show progress towards the campaign's objectives, and nothing else. (or keep that distracting stuff for your own late-night examination).
Fourth basic move: Communicate and reinforce your campaign-oriented approach to social media amongst all your stakeholders. Once you've got this approach moving along, crush all directionless channel usage -- or slap a "pilot" label on it asap and set an end date by which the business objectives must have been documented. I pine for an R&D area, but the real moves are out in the real world where there are real risks and real costs, so a minimal justification for the company's use of the channel is not unreasonable.  Use eager employees as trial balloons, but don't attach your logo to anything that's not under the banner of a campaign. 
Maybe crush is too harsh a term. The employees who can help you best with these new channels are those with experience using them. Here's a caution, however -- personal use of these channels has a different weight of consequence than use by a company, however, and these employees are going to need to retrain their sense of what is "okay" -- until they do, best to make sure what's done is done for a reason, just to minimize stupid and unnecessary mistakes -- the stuff on the Fail Blog, You Tube, Facebook Page takeovers, Twitter dustups, unexpected impact on bottom line (Yikes!) 

Posted via email from Knowledge Management Online

Crowdsourcing the Reputation Economy

People buy things because other people recommend them. Seems like the DEMO sessions have suddenly noticed Amazon sitting over there looking well fed. Straighten, shorten, and grease the pipeline of opinion connecting up the dollars and the object -- set up a sturdy margin- catcher underneath the pipe (gravity will pull down a percentage if you set it up right) and watch closely for competitors .... Make it easy, fun, and stand back.

Posted via email from Knowledge Management Online


I found Ping again! I'm using it again. But after this one, that's all for today.


People helping people with phone trees

Financial Services - Insurance Customer service information, phone numbers and contact details

Gander the link above -- my jaw dropped as my paradigm shifted. Yes! Customer service contact info belongs to the people, not the actual line owners -- here's the blossoming of the crowd moving through the three stages of Friendship in one fell swoop.

Didn't know there were three stages? Aristotle wrote about it pretty clearly in books 8 and 9 and I guess 10 of the Nichomachean Ethics.

I am finding that almost everything he wrote about the nature, source, and behavior of friendship beautifully cross-applies to the better class of social media. Now really, put down that "Art of War" and consider these rules laid down by a contemporary of that author --rules not of conflict but of attachment and affinity. How can you argue with such ideas? 1. Goodwill (not friendship, but the start of friendship) 2. Concord (not 100% agreement, but a general alignment of views), and 2. Benificence (You are bettered by the friendship).

And here we have a case of a site that races through all three, even when a stranger approaches. First, Goodwill is demonstrated by the fact that the message, the layout, the design, and the visual style of the site are all effective at separating the site from the "corporate" entities that have such support desks -- it's Them, not Us (and the visitor is included in Us).  Second, Concord is achieved by that lightbulb of alignment that snaps on as soon as you realize the purpose of the site -- how to find a person to talk to in a corporate entity for help with the corporate -- thing, product, service, relationship. This point of view -- I need to find a person -- is so universal that I don't think we need go any further to find concordance. Third, my goodness, follow the links -- they actually have the numbers and the advice.  I wonder if this is an iPhone app yet...by god, it will be. 

I ran across it while I was working with the marvelous tool Google Squared -- it's a smart mashup tool that takes all the content on the web simmering in its context as its data source.  If you know your stuff, you can steer it gently and it's a powerhouse resource.  But in looking for missing info, I ran across this lovely little illustration of ancient Greek philosophy.


Social Media and Microblogging for Those WITHIN the Corporation

Just an alert that I'm immersed in the options relating to this topic --mostly popping up in my Twitter feed, which must be a giant yawn for people reading my tweets for coffeeshop and family news. Sorry, guys -- it's my handy dandy notetaker. Speaking of which, I'm needing to refresher ma (mon? I HATE the gendrifrication of helpless nouns...) francais to comprenner les posts du Yoolink. Argh. Clearly, les cool jaunes de Paris ne encounter jamais YooHoo, the chocolately beverage that sickens as it sweetens. or maybe it's a press plea: You'll Ink, dammit...enough of that...Quando te habra dolido accustombrarte a mi (as they say in the labs of YooHoo.) Basta!

But here's the real-eo deal-eo. What's really being asked for here is a secure WAVE. It's a convergence of business case: we have the leaders laudably wishing to share their leadership thoughts on an ongoing and ongoing and interesting basis. Leadership by electronically wandering around. (Like the poor, the one-minute manager will always be with us, no?) We have a "communications culture" business objective looming intagibly above -- these two together create a call-and-respond model for the executive microblog. Like 80% more call than respond, but still...man up, you guys -- respond! or not: it's an **ahem** job market.

But how can the leaders talk openly via the cloud? How can their followers justify time away from the smoking griddle of revenue of email inbox? Well, these are the underlying requirements. How do we collect all the yammer yammer with the dollar signs of communication channels that actually support revenue generation? It's an integration issue because we actually only have limited attention and our networks have even more limited bandwidth. So the message options need to be integrated within the desktop. Also, we have limited resources on the valuable content creation front -- so it would be best all around if we could have message options integrated with respect to role-oriented online platforms...tricky, but best.

So...Here's where the lovely ESME comes in. I see that Google Wavers have integrated ESME -- though it looks recent -- seems like maybe someone said, "Wait, there's an open source messaging standard that supports Twitter and Wave isn't set up to make use of that?" Then someone else says, "H'm, that MAY be evil, I dunno."  So there it went.  I'm asking Microsoft about their ESME intentions...but know nothing yet except that it's DISCUSSED all over the place, but more as if Sharepoint is able to submit to the integration than than Sharepoint is participating in it...closing her eyes and thinking of England, so to speak.

If Corporate Amerika weren't allergic to free stuff, I see I can use Drupal and/or Joomla to build a tidy little microblog module that we could house internally.  Why is life so complicated?

The concept is released to the users, however, so it's a matter of steering the sled at this point.  If you can help me with any of this, I am all ears (interesting picture of star-ward facing array of dish receivers...)-- no, still mostly mouth, but some ear activity is promised on this topic....


B to B Participation