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Chris Allison
April 28, 2009

The Shift Towards One Identity

The web has always been a place of multiple identities. Right now I act differently on my personal blog, this blog, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I have multiple identities. In the future there will only be one identity.

April 23, 2009

Surviving Short Term Success with Endurance

  1. I was checking out some pictures on Todd Huffman's Flickr account and saw he wrote something very quotable beneath one of his pictures. (Todd works with the FabLab for technology in Afghanistan)        
    Afghans are not impressed with might, but they do respect endurance.

    In light of the current economic crisis it has become increasingly clear that size is not equivalent with success. What you do today effects the brand tomorrow. While size does not imply a successful strategy, cutting spending now may not be a good idea

April 16, 2009

What The Foodies Taught Us About Social Media

Adam recently had an interesting experience writing a guest post for an Atlanta restaurant review blog. After discussing the incident with Adam earlier today, I think there are two major lessons to be learned. One is to be applied before you start talking, and the other involves more talking.

  1. Know your audience.
  2. Engage your audience. 

Know Your Audience: 

If you want to win marketshare using social media you need to start talking to people. However, before you start talking to people you must first listen to them. What happened to Adam is that he wrote a great post for the wrong people. The readers of FoodieBuddha expected a short, succinct review that gave them a clear view of Adam's opinion of the food at Varasano's Pizzeria. Adam gave them an article that focused on the story of the restaurant. Personally, I prefer the type of review Adam wrote, but I'm not who Adam was writing for, so my opinion means absolutely nothing. The important thing to remember is that you engage in social media for anyone besides your audience, you will fail. 

Engage Your Audience:

We've had the pleasure of learning from Adam's mistake. We now have the pleasure of learning from his success. Engaging your audience throughout the process is crucial. It's not over when you hit post, tweet, send, or delete. The people, your customers, are still out there. Adam's comments to the harsh reaction his post received are a quality example of how to engage your audience in a two way conversation; they also teach us a lesson about respect. Respect is the currency of the web, and if you can't keep your cool under criticism you can be sure you won't get any respect.

I'm hungry now, so I'm going to wrap this up. Thanks for today's lesson foodies :-)


April 14, 2009

A Beautiful Web

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been to a website and thought, “Wow! What a beautiful website!” How about you? The truth is most websites are ugly; the internet is ugly. When a website does happen to be particularly appealing it is usually done in Flash or something equally hateful of the search engine crawlers.

While there are many factors affecting the ugly aging of the internet, I like picking fights one at a time so that I have an easy scapegoat. That being said, I have a personal resentment of display ads. Occasionally I see one that is beautiful and useful, but most of what I see are what we’ve all come to affectionately call "punch the monkey" ads. You know, the ones that say "punch the monkey and win one hundred dollars." I say affectionately because once you’ve had feces thrown at you by a chuckling primate (long story... it involved a visit to the zoo), well, you'll start to love "punch the monkey" ads. Even when they don't pay you the hundred dollars (and trust me, they won't.) However, that’s about the only trace of affection anyone could have for most of the junk display ads distributed these days.

The problem with display ads isn’t that they can’t be good. The problem with display is that they just aren’t ever going to be good. It would take too much work to change the agencies, the companies, and the networks pumping out display ads, and there are too many other good places to invest money like: search ads, search engine optimization, social media, web design, and video ads. Display ads probably mark the bottom of the ladder in terms of effectiveness. Sure, studies have shown they boost search, but ummm first you have to be using search, right?

If you’ve already reached the plateau where investing more money doesn’t get you any more ROI in other online platforms, then maybe you should start looking at display, but then again, maybe you should start looking offline first.

Here’s to making the internet more beautiful:

Step 1: Kill display advertisements.

What do you think step two is? I'd love to get some feedback on how we can make the internet more beautiful. I've got some ideas to help get you thinking: develop and implement image and video indexing based off of content rather than tags for a popular search engine, develop higher resolution mobile screens, increase the bandwidth and resolution available to the average user, decrease the cost of professional web design and development by increasing agency efficiency etc. etc. The list goes on. There are so many ways we can make the internet more beautiful. I'm sure with time this progress will be made. For now it's one step at a time. I'd love to hear your thoughts on some of these possibilities in the comments below and as I post about some of them in the future.

April 9, 2009

The Future of Expertise

Once upon a time knowing how to put together a beautiful presentation, use and create spreadsheets, stay connected to your inbox, and design basic web sites and applications were all considered specialized skills, but they were never a requirement for most employees.

Now, most people in the interactive industry are expected to have most of these skills. And it won’t be long before this is expected of people working in all industries. The future standard of expertise will be five times, no, fifty times higher than what it is. That is the nature of progress.

And while It’s currently possible to squeak out a living just by knowing what to talk about—consider all the self-proclaimed "social media experts" that have popped up in the last two years—the reality is that unless your creating true value for your clients you won't last very long.

I had an interesting dialogue with Chris Bailey about how we define worth and value. The outcome of the conversation was that the value of an employee is what he produces for the company, but the worth of an employee is what you pay him. These don’t always match up. The same holds true with agencies. Their worth and value won't always match up.

And as formerly specialized skillsets becomes more commonplace in the workforce, creating true value for your clients will be the only way to truly thrive in the coming years. This current realignment (AKA recession) is already bringing this fact in to focus. The question is no longer what do you know, but do you create value.


Knowing what to talk about is no longer enough.