Sword and the Script

Spam Two Saturday: Louis Vuitton and What?


Spam Two Saturday

You will die if you try to consume spam like this. Photo credit: Flickr

I’m starting a new series about spam comments.  As this blog has grown, the bad PR pitches — from my peers I might add — has grown exponentially.  So too have the spam comments.

The difference? Spam emails are a hot button but spam comments are humor. Because spam comments are captured in Akismet I can review them at my leisure…when I need a chuckle.

Here’s the Spam Two Saturday: Read More…

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Autotweets Are Not Comparable to TV or Radio Ads


autotweets, schedule tweets

Photo credit: Flickr

There’s a debate over autotweets, or scheduled tweets during times of tragedy

This post kicked it off: Guy Kawasaki is too ‘popular’ to stop autotweets during Boston bombings. This post reinforced the point, with kinder language, but with words that bite: A Letter To Those Of You With 1,500 Twitter Followers Or Fewer.

And we’re off.  Knock down.  Drag out.  Online scrap.  It’s not productive.

The point of the post?

While the news about the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon was just being broken, and for several hours afterwards, most companies shut down their promotional efforts on Twitter and other social media.

Most people and organizations rightly came to the conclusion that to continue to hawk their wares while a national tragedy was unfolding (and people were using Twitter to get and exchange news) was a little insensitive, to say the least.

Most brands stopped. And while I generally dislike the term “personal branding” because I believe within a company — that is a team environment — it is divisive  some people have become brands. In a company, this means there’s an inverse correlation between productivity and ego.   Read More…

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Three Observations the Morning After Tragedy


Thinking of Boston.

Thinking of Boston.

by Frank Strong

I first heard about it on Facebook.  A friend had posted this link to The Atlantic. Initially, the article simply had a couple lines of text and a few screenshots of tweets.  The site has since updated it to provide more complete coverage.

Senseless killing. Tragic. Incomprehensible.

My first reaction was: this is terrorism.  The last time we had a terrorist attack we went to war for a decade. In fact, we are still fighting it.  However, it’s worth noting, before 9/11, the predominant form of terrorism was from domestic lunatics, like the duo from Oklahoma City.

As of the time of this writing, no suspects have been identified and officials have simply said, they currently do not know. Read More…

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Six Creative Ideas for Blog Posts


Six creative blog posts ideas

The world is brimming with creative ideas.

by Frank Strong

The only thing boring about content may well be the creator.

That was the message in a post on Copyblogger with a subtitle that read, “There are no boring topics, only boring content creators.” Author Pratik Dholakiya next tackles the challenge of making coffee cups interesting.

It’s an idea reflective of Malcom Gladwell’s work, who is a prolific writer with the hairstyle of a genius. In his book, What the Dog Saw, Gladwell says the role of a gifted writer, or more specifically, a journalist, is to breath life into a topic and in essence  make the uninteresting…interesting. Read More…

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Triberr: Blog Building for the Magic Middle


triberr, magic middle, blogging

Image credit: Triberr

by Frank Strong

Twitter and Facebook killed blogging because it took the conversation out of blogosphere and moved it to social networks. That’s Dino Dogan‘s thesis — and it is a founding thesis for Triberr.

He’s not alone in his thinking — it was an often repeated refrain a few years ago — and the demise of Google Reader has resurrected the “end of blogs” discussion.

Google Reader’s shut down is not the end of blogs — there are plenty of RSS alternatives caught the news tail. There’s nearly a dozen good alternatives and at least one, Feedly has scored nearly one-half million new users as a result.  That’s 500,000 vocal power users and Google’s golden opportunity to earn good will walking out the door. Read More…

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Marketing Ideas: A Different Approach to Social Advertising


Facebook Ads

Image: Screenshot of current Facebook Ads on the side of my stream.

by Frank Strong

Rants about Facebook advertisements are a dime a dozen  and Facebook might be introducing a way for users to pay to have them removed.  I’ve seen a lot of comments in social media flatly saying they’d never give Facebook money to remove ads — it does seem a bit like holding people hostage — but clearly there’s also a market for it.

“I understand the company needs to make money (and I WANT them to make money) but why not at least honor your customers by providing an option that allows us to stop being annoyed?” wrote Mark Schaefer in a post titled pointedly, Dear Facebook. Please let me pay you.  “Let us give you a few bucks a month to end the insanity.”

The image Mark used in his post suggests a subscription fee of $20 a month as a fair price. If even a fraction of Facebook’s billion users subscribed, it’s stock price just might get back to that $38 per share mark it had for a fleeting moment at its debut.  As for the possible push back from users, Facebook has the unenviable position of a double edged sword:  no matter what they do, somebody is going to get angry. Read More…

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Wear Sunscreen When Social Media Sites Die


posterous closing

Screenshot: Google Image search for “Posterous closing.”

by Frank Strong

If I could offer you one piece of advice, it would be this: don’t bet your egg-nest on any one social media site. 

Social media may never sleep, but it also won’t live forever.  At least not in its current form.

A former colleague once relayed a story about MySpace. They’d met with an advertising team and signed a big contract to spend a boatload on paid media on the site when the unexpected happened.

The next day MySpace filed for bankruptcy.

There’s an old saying about eggs and baskets which needless to say means if we have more than one of the former, we certainly need more than one of the latter.

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Google+ Authorship is a Game Changer


Photo credit:  Google+

Photo credit: Google+

by Frank Strong

On the modern day battlefield there are three kinds of people:  those on our side of the fence, those on the other side of the fence and those sitting on the fence.

Stay with me, I’ll link this to Google+.

War used to be won by seizing terrain and holding it, but opposing sides also used to wear uniforms that distinguished one from the other:  you could easily tell friend from foe.  Today they blend in, because arguably, there isn’t a military force in the world that can go toe-to-toe with the United States in a conventional war.

The way to beat America is to trade space for time — and after paying a heavy price, we’ve grown wise to that.

To the American Soldier, that blend means a culture we don’t understand, using a language we don’t speak and making decisions based on values that are different from our own. We need more people on our side of the fence to win.  It’s the only way; brute force will only secure temporary gains.

To that end, the way to win isn’t to seize and hold new ground, rather it’s to win over those fencesitters.  Those on our side of the fence will deny safe haven and identify those attempting to blend with the mix.

This is how I view the digital media landscape shaping and Google+’s role in it. Read More…

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Is Yelp the New Front Page?


Yelp is the new front page

Yelp reviews, especially in local search, rank well in organic search results.

by Frank Strong

About a month ago I needed to get my carpets cleaned. As is instinctive with so many consumers these days, I turned to Google to find a professional carpet cleaner.

The first organic search result was from a review on Yelp for “Beto’s Carpet Cleaning.”  There were 30 or so reviews for the company and the commentary was overwhelmingly positive.  One reviewer wrote, “I created a Yelp account to write this review, if that tells you anything.”

The company’s carpet cleaning site is simplistic. He’s not on Twitter or Google+.  He doesn’t have a blog, he’s never issued a press release, and I’m the only fan on the company’s Facebook page.

I called up Beto — and two-days later he and a helper showed up to do the cleaning.  They were in and out in under 90 minutes — and maybe less — and I was set back just $140.  That’s very inexpensive for this neighborhood and the quality of work was top notch.  I was a happy customer. Read More…

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Confluence: Kredibility, Social Scoring and Marketing


social scoring

Image credit: Kred

by Frank Strong

Social scoring is a polarizing development in social media.   It’s a label that boils the value of a person down to a number.

Numbers can be positive like the #12 of a quarterback, or negative, like a prisoner number.  I’ve spent a long time in a military uniform — we all get numbers — but in that case its a means for equalizing the playing field.   As the famous line in Full Metal Jacket (NSFW) goes, “Here you are all equally worthless.”

With numbers comes comparison and contrast — and a difference that’s akin to the argument over the have’s and the have not’s.  I believe people should be paid for performance and promoted for potential.

However, within social media circles, a few words of late have given me pause.  For example, in an interview with Geoff Livingston, Andrew Keen, the self-titled, “The Anti Christ of Silicon Valley” said:

In my book I write about Robert Scoble who epitomizes this new class of influencers. It’s a very sort of Darwinian world where has a tiny handful of people on Twitter and on Facebook and on Klout and all these other networks with huge amount of influence and then everybody else. So, we have a new kind of aristocracy in our reputation economy.

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