Archive for November, 2008

Inverting the Long Tail: Why Selective Unsubscribe Can Be Key to a Good Twitter Experience

Purges are never pretty, but I just conducted one — and the results were a surprise.

When I signed up for Twitter last Spring, I figured I’d go ahead and reciprocally subscribe to updates from just about anyone who subscribed to mine. It’s neighborly, right? And that way I’d also get a broader initial exposure to the Twitter community than if I only connected with people I already knew. Pretty quickly, it seemed that twitterers were using the site in three primary ways — as a micro-blogging tool (“Just got to work — Mondays suck”), as an online community (“@bobdobbs great idea! I’ll bring the beer”) and as a broadcast tool/rss replacement (“new article up — http://www.tinyurl.com/blah”). I also found that I was using it mainly to push out article teasers and to follow other author/aggregators, and only somewhat as a community (very rarely as a micro-blog).

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7 comments November 24th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Back in Business!

Okay, that was interesting — after a catastrophic hardware failure at our ISP and a couple of days of problems with the site, epolitics.com is back up and running at full steam. Thursday morning, I suddenly stopped getting any messages sent to an epolitics.com email address — things got awful quiet for a while. Then I noticed that the site was unavailable. Turns out that the server had cratered:

In this case the irony is that the device that failed was a (rather expensive) RAID controller, so the problem was caused by a device specifically designed to prevent what happened. We’re working with the vendor to figure out why this happened — I think we’re going to wind up retiring all of the servers of that model as a precaution.

That from Heller Information Services head Paul Heller, who clearly had a couple of bad days there. By that afternoon, email was being routed properly, and the site came back up in crippled form on Friday. Restoring the WordPress database from a backup (the db got corrupted in the crash) took until Saturday, but now we’re back in action. And Heller’s giving everyone affected two weeks’ free hosting, which helps make up for the unexpected vacation. Ah, technology — you are both friend and frustration.

Update: Oops, spoke too soon — the comments disappeared again. Should be back shortly Are back up now.

cpd

Add comment November 23rd, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Blogger Relations: Effective But Not Efficient

Speaking about social media at Tuesday’s Media Future Now lunch, Melanie Phung made a great point about blogger relations: she described it as effective but not efficient. That’s an excellent summing-up, since a link in the right blog can be tremendously effective at driving traffic to a story or at driving the public debate, but getting that link can be extremely time-consuming. As we’ve discussed before in more detail, effective blogger outreach usually takes plenty of research and plenty of relationship-building, while the odds of any given pitch message or call yielding a hit are relatively low. The cost of social media marketing is often measured in hours rather than dollars, unless you’re dealing with a vendor (cha-ching!).

cpd

Add comment November 19th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Watching New (and Transient?) Social Spaces Emerge on Facebook

One thing that’s been fascinating to watch over past few months has been the flare-up of brief discussions among both friends and strangers related to particular pieces of information posted on Facebook — usually a status update, but sometimes an event or profile wall comment. Are these just transient events, or are we watching the creation of new and potentially enduring social spaces?

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1 comment November 17th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Quick Hits — November 17, 2008

cpd

1 comment November 17th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Unveiling the Online Politics Cabinet

The media attention’s on Barack Obama’s potential choices for jobs in HIS Cabinet, but what about OURS? E.politics has selflessly taken on the task of assembling a core group of crack online political operatives to help Bring Our Nation into the 21st Century — they can get started as soon as they’re finished bringing our nation’s political system into the 20th. Let’s take it from the top:

  • President: Julie Germany
    A bipartisan figure for a new political age! Julie’s been herding cats and performing thankless tasks in the online politics world for years — floating above the fray with Obama-like calm, she’s a perfect pick to be our new Dear Leader. This time, the chick wins.
  • Vice President: Michael Bassik
    With a playboy’s easy style and Kennedy-esque charm, he’s just right for the VP’s real role: going to diplomatic events and schmoozing. If he can keep from getting impeached over a sex scandal, he’s also a candidate for the future: he’s a shoe-in for 2016, if all his ex-girlfriends vote.

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15 comments November 14th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Obama Transition Web Team Includes Both Technical and Outreach Staff

Cross-posted on techPresident

As reported on TPM Cafe yesterday, the Obama transition team has named its first online communications staff: Macon Phillips, formerly of Blue State Digital and the Obama campaign, will head new media, and Jesse Lee will handle “online communications,” meaning outreach. A couple of observations: first, note how early these guys are being hired — the election was only a week ago, and the new media team is already being put into place. Think the Obama folks might understand how critical online communications is in a modern political environment?

Second, note that while Phillips comes from the technology/strategy side, Lee deals with people on the web — he’s been a blogger himself and has great relations with the lefty political blogs (MyDD is pleased, while Aravosis just about blows a gasket over the guy), plus he has the sharp political experience of working with the DCCC in a very successful 2006 election cycle. Another hire: friend-of-e.politics Cammie Croft, who’ll also be working on “online communications.”

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1 comment November 13th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Will Obama Empower Government 2.0?

Guest article! The second in the past couple of weeks, too — a welcome development. In this piece, longtime friend-of-e.politics Joe Flood looks in detail at the kind of obstacles that currently frustrate federal government agencies when they try to use the social web. With Obama in office, is generational change ahead? Or will bureaucratic obstructionism win the day? This article originally appeared on JoeFlood.com, where a solid discussion has already built up around it. – cpd

Will Obama Empower Government 2.0?

By Joe Flood

There’s a really interesting article in the New York Times on how Obama tapped the power of social networks to fuel his run for the presidency. Here’s the nut graph:

Like a lot of Web innovators, the Obama campaign did not invent anything completely new. Instead, by bolting together social networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans.

Obama’s use of Facebook, Twitter, Meetup and other tools is well-known. By successfully using these tools, he’s created an online mass movement and a personal brand. The challenge he faces now is to implement his ideas across a federal government frequently mired in outdated policies and procedures. While both the McCain and Obama campaigns used every online tool available to them, the federal government is filled with restrictions on Web 2.0 technology, due to privacy regulations, Congressional intervention and IT security concerns. For example:

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3 comments November 12th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Election 2008 Memento: Live at Fox 5

Well, David Almacy and I may only have managed to get on the air for a couple of minutes on election night, plus a few more live on the web (REAL news kept happening and bumping us out of the queue), but we WERE a part of Fox 5′s crack Election Coverage Team on a historic November 4th. And we have the photographic evidence to prove it: that’s me on the right, David on the left and WTTG Fox 5 News reporter Will Thomas in the middle.

At Fox 5 election night

Note the distorting effect of the iPhone lens — shot from below, we get a nice Mt. Rushmore effect, but in the real world I don’t really have a Hellboy-style massive left arm (in the uncropped version, my hand is about the size of my head) and David and Will are actually much closer to the same height. All around, it was a fascinating evening: besides the election itself, we got to watch from within as a local news station put together live coverage of a big event on the fly. Made up for a lot of missed parties.

cpd

3 comments November 12th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

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