Category Archives: personal

The Web is what we make of it

I saw a Google Chrome commercial twice tonight that struck a chord with me. The extended version, embedded below, has been online since May.

On the one hand, it’s a slick ad for a search engine giant’s Web browser that features a glowing treatment of a megacelebrity and her happy fans.

On the other, it’s a view into a changed world that still feels very much of the moment, months after its debut. It reminded me that the Internet has fundamentally changed how we can directly connect with the people who inspire us and on another.

There’s something both deeply joyful and poignant seeing Lady Gaga’s fans dance and sing along with her to that particular song.

On a night where I also saw so much pain, anger, fear, cruelty and misunderstanding flow over the same global electronic network of networks, it felt good to be reminded of how much more connected we can be. If we choose, we can reach out and connect to hundreds of other millions of humans, who are both different and fundamentally the same, looking at a growing mobile Web of billions of screens, small, medium and large.

We can see, share and celebrate the best of human nature in real-time or mourn, censor and condemn that which is worst in us. We go online and find ourselves, for good or ill, and leave a Web that is what we make of it.

Every time we log on, we have an opportunity to change how we think or connect with someone else around this pale blue dot.

Thank you for sharing that journey and teaching me something new, every day.


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Japanese ‘Tsunami dog’ reunited with owner after 3 weeks at sea

As a dog owner, I teared up a bit upon watching this.

In these dark days, good stories can be hard to come by. The devastation and loss of life in Japan after last month’s earthquake and tsunami continues to be deeply affecting. This moment offered a welcome positive note.

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Smarter social networking at SMCDC

Tonight, I’ll be moderating a discussion at Porter Novelli DC about what “smarter social networking” means.

Fortunately, posing questions to this particular set of panelists will be much more easier than trying to herd LOLcats.

Some time shortly after 7 PM EST, I’ll start asking Frank Gruber (@FrankGruber), CEO & co-founder of TechCocktail, Shana Glickfield (@dcconcierge), partner at Beekeeper Group, and Shonali Burke (@shonali), principal at Shonali Burke Consulting, what “smarter social networking” means in 2011. We’ll be talking about forming relationships and acting professionally in the context of the Internet. I might even ask about what good “netiquette” means.

I expect to see Federal News Radio Chris anchor Chris Dorobek (@cdorobek) to be there in person to heckle me online, along with the rest of one of the more connected group of people in the District of Columbia. The DC Social Media Club, after all, comes heavily loaded with BlackBerrys, iPhones, iPads and Android devices. Some will even have two of those devices – one official, one not, and will be wired into Facebook, Twitter, email and txt messaging.

This is clearly a group of people that has thought a lot about how to practice “smarter social networking.” As prepared for the discussion last night, I was reminded that the actions that humans take online increasingly are aligned what they do offline.

That’s because the idea of a separate “cyberspace” is on life support. That’s was one conclusion that Clay Shirky brought to a discussion of the recent report by the Pew Internet and Life Project on the social side of the Internet at the State of the Net Conference.

In wired communities, people are increasingly integrating their online lives with their offline actions. As that trend grows with more of humanity coming online, the role of the Internet as a platform for collective action increases. The world has seen some of that power at work in Tunisia and Egypt this winter.

Those connections are not always strongly made, due to the anonymity sections of the Web of 2011 provide. You only have to look at the quality of civil discourse between commentary on YouTube or newspaper comment threads without moderation to see how anonymity can enable the id of humanity to wash over a page. Teachers, freedom fighters, activists, law enforcement, aid workers, insurgents, journalists or criminals can and will use the Internet for different ends. When any tool is put to ugly or evil use, naturally it provokes outrage, concern, regulation or outright bans.

As Stowe Boyd wrote this weekend in his essay on cognition and the Web, however, “throwing away the web because you don’t like what you see is like breaking a mirror because you don’t like your own reflection. It is us we are staring at in that mirror, on the web: and it is us looking out, too.”It is us we are staring at in that mirror, on the web: and it is us looking out, too.”

In this age of radical transparency, it’s becoming harder and harder to hide to hide demonstrated bad character over time. That’s even more true of people who choose to live their lives more publicly on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and where ever else there digital nomadism leads them next.

This isn’t an entirely happy development, as the number of citations of social networking in divorce filings suggest. By the end of the next decade, more people may well be paying money to assure their privacy than to gain more publicity.

In that context, “smarter social networking” in an age of digital transparency may well rely more on good character, better business ethics and placing value in building trusted relationships than faster wireless broadband, the newest smartphone or millions of followers or fans.


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Hired: I’m the new #Gov20 DC Correspondent for @OReillyMedia!

I’m thrilled to announce that I have a new job! Earlier today, I accepted an offer from Tim O’Reilly to be the Washington, D.C. correspondent on Government 2.0 for O’Reilly Media.

I’m hitting the ground running here in the District of Columbia, since O’Reilly’s upcoming 2010 Government 2.0 conference is only a few weeks away — and there’s plenty to do.

Over the following months, I expect to write – a lot – about how technology is being used to help citizens, cities and national governments solve big problems.

I also expect to frequently explain what “government 2.0″ is, since the term is in my title! I’ve written before about the language of government 2.0, the history of disruptive innovation and the ways government adapts to technological change. That’s part of it. So is Tim O’Reilly’s concept of government 2.0 as a platform, naturally.

And so is writing about government transparency, the Open Government Directive, relaunches of .gov websites like or, and the people behind the technologies that are driving change and innovation.

There’s no shortage of case studies to highlight, from the local town green right on up to the federal or international level. Just listen to the voices from the Gov2.0 LA unconference for a small sample of the perspectives on the issue.

O’Reilly’s goal in Washington D.C. is to “create a context in which people can think” differently about the role of technology in government, and the role of government in society. I look forward to helping to create that context.

In service of that goal, I’ll be blogging, conducting short interviews with government officials and industry participants, writing features and using the rest of the tools for digital curation I’ve been honing in the past several years.

I’m very excited to get started. I expect my new position to be challenging, engaging, rewarding, occasionally frustrating and never dull.

I also expect the process of writing about government 2.0 case studies to be a reciprocal process, as readers help me to understand more about what stories are important to them and which voices deserve to be heard.

I hope that in the days and months to come that you’ll share your perspectives, ideas and suggestions with me.

The story of government 2.0 is already being written every day by citizens, civic hackers, advocacy groups, government employees, researchers and technologists.

As a digital pilgrim, I look forward to chronicling that progress.


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On Twitter, neither a Luddite nor Biltonite be. Simply be human.

The wrangling about whether Twitter is revolutionary, useful or mindless twaddle simply will not end. Given the continued interest in the microblogging platform in the media, that is perhaps to be expected.

Last month, David Carr wrote in the Sunday edition of the The New York Times that “Twitter will endure,” exploring how he’d initially dismissed the platform and then found it useful. In late January,  The New Yorker‘s George Packer responded to  Carr, deriding Twitter as “information hell” and comparing it to an addiction to crack in “Stop the world.” That brought a flood of attention from online media outlets, including Nick Bilton, lead writer for the excellent Bits blog at the Times, who wrote that “The Twitter train has left the station,” defending Twitter from the point of view of a journalist who has found utility amidst the stream.  On Thursday, Mr. Packer offered a rebuttal, positioning himself as neither a “Luddite or a Biltonite.” Jeffrey Goldberg has now weighed in at the Atlantic, consigning Bilton and others who might share his conviction to the arena of “info freaks.”

Well and good. (At least Goldberg tweets.) Two disclaimers:

1) I am a long-time reader of George Packer’s excellent work in the New Yorker. I found “The Assassin’s Gate” to be one of the best books written about the early stages of the war in Iraq.

2) I’ve found considerable utility in Twitter since I joined in March of 2007.

I don’t expect either truth to be degraded by the spat between Bilton and Packer.

I was, however, surprised that Packer had chosen to criticize a platform that he hadn’t used. Few serious technology journalists, book reviewers, movie or restaurant critics would consider rendering judgment without personal experience. Such considerations don’t hold back millions of Twitter users, bloggers or, I believe, any number of television pundits, but since I admire Mr. Packer’s professionalism, that approach surprised me.

When he wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged” six years ago, my sense was that, despite his misgivings and evident frustration with pajama-clad pundits, he’d read some blogs, even if he doubted their utility as serious platforms for commentary or criticism. Given the maturation of blogs in the years since (including, I might note, at New, I wonder if revisiting that analysis might have been more useful, rather than dismissing Twitter without first dipping into the ebb and flow of news there.

In his second pass, Packer wrote that he had, in fact, “sought out a Tweeter,” without linking to or identifying that person. Well and good, but perhaps a weak strawman. As a commenter at Packer’s blog reflected, much of the content produced there is ambient noise, or digital “phatics” as Kevin Marks has rightly described them.

Twitter is profoundly social. That’s is why, despite the mindless hype surrounding the phrase, “social media” has had staying power in describing Twitter, Facebook or other platforms that allow two way conversations.

Twitter, like so many other things, is what you make of it. Some might go to a cocktail party and talk about fashion, who kissed whom, where the next hot bar is or any number of other superficial topics. Others might hone in on politics, news, technology, media, art, philosophy or any of the other subjects that the New Yorker covers. If you search and listen, it’s not hard to find others sharing news and opinion that’s relevant to your own interests.

Using intelligent filters for information, it’s quite easy to subscribe and digest them at leisure. And it’s as easy as unfollowing someone to winnow out “babble” or a steady stream of mundanity. The impression that one is forced to listen to pabulum, as if obligated to sit through a dreary dinner party or interminable plane ride next to a boring boor, is far from the reality of the actual experience of Twitter or elsewhere.

There’s also genuine utility there for the journalists who choose to experiment. When stories break, we can use it for real-time news and information. In the case of Haiti, Twitter was relevant, immediate and helpful, given that phones went down and the Internet stayed up. NPR was able to use Twitter and Skype to find sources on the ground. Disaster relief agencies were able to coordinate with one another. And in one notable instance, Doctors Without Borders was able to call attention using Twitter at @MSF_USA to the fact that its plane was getting turned away. Ann Curry heard them and helped to amplify the issue:

“@usairforce find a way to let Doctors without Borders planes land in Haiti: THE most effective at this. 11:52 AM Jan 17th

Packer and others are right to caution against hype and techno-worshipers. On balance, however, Packer errs in tarring much of the online community with a broad brush.

One passage in particular stands out: “There’s no way for readers to be online, surfing, e-mailing, posting, tweeting, reading tweets, and soon enough doing the thing that will come after Twitter, without paying a high price in available time, attention span, reading comprehension, and experience of the immediately surrounding world.” As Marc Ambinder tweeted earlier today, “I read many, many books in 2009. Including yours. And I Tweet.”

The same is true for me, and for many others. I read much of the New Yorker, the Economist and the Atlantic each month, along with numerous newspapers and technology blogs or trade publications online. (I write for one of the latter.) I also read on average 2-3 books every month, depending upon the rigor of travel, conferences or other factors. I also dip in and out Twitter throughout the week. That may not be an ideal information diet for everyone but for this tech journalist, it works. Even if I miss a story, it’s extremely rare that my network of friends and sources won’t find it and share it.

That’s why this “social news” phenomenon has become of keen interest to Google, as evidenced by the inclusion of social search into its results.

I share Packer’s concern about how the use of the Internet is changing literacy, critical thinking and creativity. Well and good, if not exactly novel. I look forward to more research on how and where those effects are found. I find hypotheses that place high consumption rates video games, television and movies is at the heart of poor information literacy instead of the wired world more convincing.

As for another comment regarding the tweets that flew about Ann Curry being stuck in the elevator, I share the amusement from the perspective of the man who sat next to that remarkable woman for ninety minutes. (So did the folks at Gawker, who wrote about the elevator incident at length.) Ann and I talked about Haiti, changes in media, religion, the utility of the iPad and yes, Twitter, all gloriously offline and in depth. I enjoy that memory; there’s a lovely montage of images up at, whose camera took the excellent shot below.

The fact that the world knew we were all stuck in that elevator was merely amusing, however, as opposed to a critical message that would best be conveyed to a 911 operator. We all found the intercom more useful than our smartphones, given the awful reception.

Sharing our experience with our networks of friends, however, was a natural extension of life in 2010. It certainly wasn’t breaking news but the act of communicating about it offered me, at least, an opportunity to interact with a broader audience of other humans around globe. That’s an unalloyed good.

I agree that “cheerleading uncritically” is not useful, nor a mentality that any writer should adopt. I do not share Packer’s conviction, however, that the news landscape can’t be occupied by more technological platforms, including reporters tapping away on BlackBerrys. One important example of that is Mark Knoller, the CBS White House correspondent whose tweets read like a they’ve been adapted from a history book already written.

If Mr. Packer would like to meet over coffee in DC to talk further about how life has changed in the age of Twitter, consider this an open invitation. Given my experience with his writing, I am certain that @GeorgePacker would be worth following.

-Alexander B. Howard


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It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the connections.

Image by Amodiovalerio Verde via Flickr

Last night, I had a surprise:  my follower count on Twitter dropped by 148 in one fell swoop.

At first, I thought it was something I had tweeted – oversharing about the Forrester tweetup, or disinterest in sharing a clip of Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor. That didn’t jibe, however, with my gut.

What was inflammatory? What had I done that resulted in a huge loss of followers? As I drifted off to sleep, I thought: how important is this, really, in the grand scheme of things?

I’ve long since learned one hallmark of netiquette on Twitter (Twittiquette, if you will) was not to talk about one’s follower numbers. (If only I could retrieve some of the replies I received back in 2007 after doing so, I’d be thrilled. No good.)

A paraphrase of most of them essentially boiled down to this: are you here to get followers or here to connect?

It didn’t take long to see where the real value was. And, more than two years later, I’m elated to look back and see how many marvelous connections I’ve made, many of which have led to friendships offline. Why is that important?

For me, that’s a a simple answer: we live in a number-obsessed culture. Thinks about how many metrics we track, filter and can recall: poll numbers, net worth, MPG, CTR, Web uniques, 0-60 in __, GPA, APR, circulation, P/E ratios, DJIA, TCO, Mbps, R/W speed…on and on.

And, naturally, for those in the social networking world,we count subscribers,  friends and followers. I’ve received far too many messages and spam promising me thousands of followers if I use this software or that service.

Honestly, they all leave me with the taste of fermented cough syrup in my mouth, with a healthy side of cod liver oil.

It’s not about the numbers: it’s about the connections.

Every follower or friend I’ve made has been through a conscious choice or organic growth. I’m proud of that. I’ve done it in what I might term the “new-fashioned way,” using much the same approach that Chris Brogan describes in his Twitter FAQ: “be helpful, share, communicate, use @replies a lot.” I tend to attribute “by @username” or “via @” nearly as much as directly @reply these days but the sense is the same.

Yesterday, I met Josh Bernoff, co-author of Groundswell. I had dinner with Shava Nerad and her beau, “Fish Fishman,” with Laurel Ruma joining in a bit later. I saw dozens of other friends from the local social media scene at two different tweetups.

I shared some groundbreaking journalism tools and advice, like best practices for journalists curating the Web. I shared messages and stories with newsies at the New York Times, Guardian, Wired, Gizmodo, Slate, The Register,The Center for Democracy & Technology and many others.

I read Stephen Baker on what may become of BusinessWeek and Bernard Lunn on creative destruction in publishing

I shared a lovely bit of science fiction made real, via the irrepressible Steve Garfield, watching the latest in augmented reality:

I reviewed my sources, notes and interviews from a conference earlier this week and wrote an article. I enjoyed a two hour workshop with my colleagues, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of our journalism. I even enjoyed a late night cocktail with someone I love deeply.

In all of that, what does a dip in follower numbers mean? Not a helluva lot.

And, as it turns out, the scuttlebutt that Twitter is doing another purge of spammers and bots, a process that I recall from last year as well. My existential angst was unwarranted, my concern without merit – but the thought process and recounting it led me to was worth it.

I’m proud of my connections and my friends, of the social news network we’re all collaborating upon, and up the quality of the communication within it. I’m glad to bring it with me to Washington in a few short weeks.

The spammers can go live on whatever lower circle of digital Hades is reserved for ‘em.

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Post from the comments: “Let’s go give away some oranges”

Fight Club
Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, Chris Brogan wrote about Secret Fight Club, adapting the concept of Fight Club to social media for social change.

My first response? The first rule of #SecretFightClub: No one talks about Secret Fight Club!

In a comment on Chris’s blog, I suggested that “eTyler Durden is gonna be so annoyed. I suggest you change your soaps and don’t eat soup for months.”

The irony is that, given the reach of Chris’ blog, many people WILL of course be talking about SFC, though perhaps even more will simply keep on spreading that good will silently.

“Buying free plates of bacon at the bar” isn’t a bad metaphor at all — I can’t forget when someone did just that at the #140Conf — but passing out oranges to the homeless catches something closer to my heart.

A member of my family always carried oranges in Philly and Baltimore growing up, where there are major homeless populations, most of whom have major Vitamin C deficiencies.

Instead of giving them money, he passed out oranges. A few homeless people became upset, since they wanted $ for whatever other cause, but most were incredibly grateful.

Chris Brogan passes out oranges all the time.

He posts portraits of independence on his blog, tweets  about worthy causes, explains how he tweets, writes about favorite children’s books, pastors or software he likes.

Some cynics might say that’s name dropping or crass brand mentions, like the unfortunate choice of Magic Johnson to mention KFC five times during MJ’s memorial.

I don’t buy into that.

In the social media world, regardless of what digital outpost you’re on, sharing information and being helpful is the best and most important form of digital currency we have to share.

Instead of beating each other up to escape the banality of corporatized modern life, in order to FEEL something, we are all collaborating on building a global network of digitized human experience, caught on video, pictures or memorialized in 140 characters or more.

I’d say thank you to Chris for risking eTyler Durden’s wrath but I think it’s possible he’s playing him here. He remembers how long many of us have been at this online.

Do you remember when we all passed around The Hunger Site and everyone clicked to give rice? I do.

And guess what? That website just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

FreeRice gives away rice if you play simple word games. And charity : water just celebrated a similar digital success, borne on a wave of social media good karma.

The netizens using and sharing those ideas represent precisely the kind of Secret Fight Club I’m both proud to belong to and recruit others to join.

Let’s go give away some oranges.

Note: This post first appeared as a comment on Chris Brogan’s blog. I decided it was worth editing and posting here. I’m following Chris’ example when he posted “On Public Radio” as a surprise guest post on

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Notes and Tweets from the TechTarget ROI Summit at #TTGTSummit

Marilou Barsam at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit

Marilou Barsam at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit

The week before last, before I went off to San Francisco to be immersed in security, compliance and cloud computing at the RSA Conference, I was lucky to be present at TechTarget‘s annual ROI Summit. The event, held in Newton, Mass., showcases the best research, advice and case studies from TechTarget’s online marketing efforts. I attended at the invitation of Dave Bailey, an estimable director of corporate marketing at TechTarget, sitting in on his panel with Sean Brooks on the ROI of Social Media.

Before that session, however, I was privy to a full slate of presentations and findings in the main ballroom. The following post is a reflection of the “best of the back channel,” as represented by posts (so-called “tweets”) to Twitter from attendees and TechTarget staff on site. The hashtag for the event was #TTGTSummit, as you can see if you visit and search for it. Tweets are presented in chronological format here, as opposed to the most recent additions you’ll find in the links above.

Given the 140 character limit to each post, there is naturally a need to condense the insight and add context and resources with hyperlinks or other usernames. In aggregate, however, this conversation provides some useful insight into the state of online marketing, as practiced by one of the leaders in the space. I enjoyed the opportunity to “micro-report” on it using my personal account @digiphile.

You can read Marilou Barsam’s “Takeaways from the TechTarget 2009 East Online ROI Summit” at “My Educated Guess.’

Introductions & Keynote from Greg Strakosch

digiphile: The TechTarget Online #ROI Summit is getting rolling here. Follow the #TTGTSummit hashtag. More info:

digiphile: Glad to find @RandyKahle @GSasha @AqaMarketing @Cathie_Briggett @rsk1060 @ESalerno here. Consider using #TTGTSummit & following @ITAgenda

digiphile: My CEO is up at the #TTGTSummit. Enterprise IT pros researching at the same activity level during this #recession, despite budget tightening

digiphile: Over 60 websites in the TechTarget network as of April 2009. In aggregate, that’s the largest audience of IT pros on the Web. 

digiphile: Barsam introduced the concept of the “hyperactive lead” at the #TTGTSummit | My take: IT pros consume media like bears eat blueberries.

digiphile: An IT pro here at the #TTGTSummit describes himself as an “informavore” – always foraging for information. I share that hyperactivity.

Online Marketing Case Studies

InboundMarketer: At TechTget Online ROI Summit (#TTGTSummit) talking abt nurturing in 2 ways-inside ur environment & outside of it, both need 2 b synergistic

digiphile: Panel on #OnlineMarketing drives home importance of integrated media & customized, thoughtful messages. Many touchpoints. 

digiphile: The # of tools #OnlineMarketers have now is unprecedented. Virtual trade shows, videocasts, social media, data/Web analytics 

digiphile: Detailed case studies of how #OnlineMarketers use automated CRM tools/dashboards to gather & track leads at the #TTGTSummit | Analytics key.

digiphile: PRT @InboundMarketer Tableau software uses Eloqua; “great 4 a small co,” uses CRM ( 4 visual scoring w/dashboards 

Andy Briney’s Presentation on trends for CIO spending

cappypopp: IT in ’00s: ‘webify’ servers, apps, infrastructure. Bandwidth leasing, compliance. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Online ROI Summit #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: To succeed IT is going to need to rejustify its role in the business #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Only 29% of companies to grow their IT budgets in ’09 | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Andy outlining major IT trends for 2009 : Consolidation (virtualization, outsourcing w/cloud/SaaS) & compliance. >regs coming |

cappypopp: 96% of co.’s (of 500) believe that IT’s role in compliance hugely important; 70% of IT pros surveyed will focus on it in ’09 

digiphile: What’s the #1 IT spend area in 2009? According to Briney @ #TTGTSummit, it’s disaster recovery. Hurricanes had an impact on banks/insurance.

cappypopp: What is ‘business intelligence?’ Getting more and better data faster. | #ttgtsummit

ITCompliance: PRT @cappypopp 96% of Fortune500 co’s believe IT’s role in compliance hugely imptnt; 70% IT pros surveyed will focus on it in 09 

ITCompliance: RT @ITAgenda Major recession-proof areas of IT spending: Business Intelligence/BPM, Compliance, Disaster Recovery, Consolidation

digiphile: RT @CappyPopp “Consolidation, compliance, DR, & BI are not “opportunities” for IT: they are imperatives” -Andy Briney 

InboundMarketer: – Techtarget Online ROI Summit #TTGTSummit main session room

ITCompliance: Andy Briney gave special note at the #TTGTSummit. USGov/EU regs have made “IT” a crucial issue for #2009.

cappypopp: IT marketers: target proj. teams, not all stakeholders, and audience closest to your product or pain. Use independent content | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Good advice for #OnlineMarketers: Focus on unique value prop, stick to the truth, get specific, speak prospect’s lingo -Briney 

Tedesign: RT @ITAgenda: There are 4 major recession-proof areas of IT spending – BI/BPM, Compliance, Disaster Recovery, Consolidation #TTGTSummit

CIO Panel

Note: Linda Tucci wrote about this panel at, publishing “In Great Recession of 2009, three CIOs do more with flat IT budgets” the next day.

digiphile: At a #TTGTSummit #CIO panel. Jay Leader, iRobot’s CIO here. Noted Roomba & IED detection. Also: a gutter cleaning robot

digiphile: CIOs for TAC Worldwide ( & PlumChoice ( also presenting on #TTGTSummit #CIO breakout panel.

cappypopp:#CIO panel #ttgtsummit: focus on speed and resilience. Keep up w/ speed of business.

digiphile: @cappypopp iRobot #CIO kept IT budget flat in 2009? Focus on managing IT as a business is key for all orgs, profitable or not.

ITCompliance: “SOX is the magic word that gets it past the CFO.” #CIOs on #TTGTSummit panel note poetic license in GRC software purchasing.

ITCompliance: A #CIO at the #TTGTSummit noted necessity of “J-SOX” #compliance at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Wikipedia def:

digiphile: iRobot #CIO places 2009 focus not on tools (has BI & ERP) but on getting better use from them & optimizing data/biz processes | #TTGTSummit

digiphile: Top drivers for #virtualization for these CIOs are consolidation & DR. Reduce # of servers, contain costs, provision faster. 

digiphile: Watching @ltucci take notes on today’s #CIO panel. Her last post shed light on CISO risk mngmt mind-set:

digiphile: Key Q for a #CIO: What can we *do* with it? What business problem does it solve? Applies to SOA, Twitter, UC, you name it. 

digiphile: “It’s not the solution, it’s the box that goes with it. Support, implementation costs, configuration, etc.”-Jay Leader, #CIO

cappypopp: iRobot #CIO Jay Leader: never vets technical products, done lower in hierarchy. He does business eval: does it solve a problem? #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Very hard to access #CIO s to sell to them. Panelists almost never talk to vendors. If they do you better KNOW your product. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: ‘Sell your product in a way that tells me how it solves MY problem. Understand my business. No webinars!’ #CIO panel #ttgtsummit

digiphile: “A ‘#green data center’ only matters to a #CIO consuming megawatts of energy or dealing w/colocation. I’m a capitalist.” 

JeanSFleming: RT @digiphile: “Understand who I am & express your solution to me in a way that shows me how to address a problem.” 

cappypopp: #CIO Jay Leader (iRobot): DONT CARE a/b green tech. I’m a captalist. Green tech == no $ for us. Solves no problem in my space. #ttgtsummit

rotkapchen: @digiphile Or “don’t waste my time” Problem: High cost to ALL of that — figuring it out. Must be mutual discovery. #CIO

digiphile: @rotkapchen I agree. There IS a high cost to figuring out how to market to an enterprise #CIO. First step: Understanding IT.

Social Media ROI Session

cappypopp: #ttgtsummit Measuring #ROI of social media panel with @seanbrooks @digiphile David Bailey. Waiting for the @radian6 mention. :)

digiphile: Panel on #SocialMedia ROI starting at #TTGTSummit. @SeanMBrooks up. Nearly every hand went up when asked who uses SM. ~75% on Twitter now.

digiphile: Case study in #socialmedia success from the audience. #Intuit promoted a webinar w/Twitter, blogged it, engaged influencers.

cappypopp: Amazing difference in one year of audience survey of %age that use social media. Easily 75% of hands up. Last year: maybe 20%. #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Uses of #socialmedia from @SeanRBrooks: Focus groups, new distribution channels, feedback, real-time product/company tracking 

digiphile: Quick hits on corporate #socialmedia case studies getting ROI on Twitter from @SeanRBrooks: @CAInfraMan @NetBackup

cappypopp: ‘take a breath, learn how to respond.’-@SeanRBrooks Re: #Twitter | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: “Instant feedback using Twitter or other #socialmedia platforms is easy & quite powerful.”-@SeanRBrooks. Example: Try @TwtPoll | #TTGTSummidigiphile: “Empower your employees to participate in #socialmedia. They’re already doing it.”-@SeanRBrooks on suggesting best practices. | 
digiphile: Other #socialmedia best practices: Strategy 1st, don’t sell, offer help, make it P2P, allow criticism, accept feedback, have fun 

cappypopp: ‘sitting quietly and letting comments sit’ not a great idea. #Socialmedia is 2-way – @seanrbrooks | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Measuring success? @SeanRBrooks suggests #socialmedia metrics like ROMO (return on marketing objective) vs ROI. RTs/links. 

digiphile: Suggested #socialmedia tracking tools from @CappyPopp: | http://tweetgrid |

digiphile: Effects of #socialmedia? @SeanRBrooks asks: “How big is your reach? Traffic benefits? Happier customers? ‘Influencers’ linking?” 

cappypopp: Serena Software #socialmedia campaign case study – generated 14x avg CTR on #Facebook. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: #Norton brand advocates: #Symantec built 15k customer advocates using #socialmedia and raised their Amazon ratings accordingly #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Dave Bailey presenting on thought leadership in #SocialMedia. Start w/strategy, objective & audience. Then choose tools. 

digiphile: Bailey showed a detailed media plan summarizing a Dell campaign at @ITKE that integrated multiple #socialmedia components. 

digiphile: Next #socialmedia case study @ #TTGTSummit: #IBM‘s B2B play across multiple platforms: @MrFong |

digiphile: Remember blogs? Dell does. Ideastorm blog went from “worst to first” (-@JeffJarvis). -27% negative blog posts. =$100M in ads? 

digiphile: More on measuring #socialmedia: Reach, Traffic, Leads, Interaction. Watch subscription #s, CTR, PVs, RTs/@replies & comments.

Google/TechTarget Research

digiphile: Final session at #TTGTSummit features research from the @Google/@TechTarget Roadshow: | #Search behaviors of IT buyers.

digiphile: Next from @Google #search? Perhaps: concept clustering, filtering w/in results, categorization by page type, on-hover preview 

IBM_ECM: RT @digiphile: This post from @ChrisBrogan is for those in #SocialMedia session wondering where to start:

Closing Notes

InboundMarketer: Create a separate remessaging strategy based on content consumption & velocity of consumption – good advice, #ttgtsummit

ITAgenda: Online media complexity creates opportunity – examine metrics carefully and see how media plan improves SEM/SEO strategy #TTGTSummit

digiphile: Closing notes at the #TTGTSummit from co-founder Don Hawk: “Complexity creates competitive advantage.” Execution matters — & it’s not easy.

cappypopp: Thanks to all at TechTarget Online ROI Summit. Great job. #ttgtsummit

rsk1060: @jhurwitz shared some great ideas about articulating new concepts to IT professionals at #TTGTSummit – thank you!

rsk1060: Peter Varhol’s session at #TTGTSummit provided interesting research information indicating the #SOA is, in fact, not dead.

LeahRosin: Article on #TTGTSummit #CIO Panel: “In the #Recession of 2009, 3 CIOs do more with flat IT budgets” (HT @digiphile)

digiphile: “Content is still king in IT marketing.” @BennettStrategy, on @TechTarget/@Google research: | #TTGTSummit | HT @MarkMartel

ITAgenda: Marilou Barsam’s key technology marketing takeaways and wrap-up from the #TTGTSummit on My Educated Guess blog

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10 Delicious links to remember on Twitter, Google and Newspapers

Google in 1998
Image via Wikipedia

When I scrolled down this blog this afternoon, I noticed that my list of Delicious social bookmarks was a succinct, useful snapshot of the resources or ideas I’d found worth saving over the past week. As the platform and tools that I can use to tag, share or store information online has expanded, Delicious has remained an important tool for leaving useful digital breadcrumbs I can use to retrace my travels later on. This list struck me as particularly meaningful, both because of how useful the links are and what they reflect in the moment of my life when I saved them.

For instance, I saved the Google AdWords: Keyword Tool link after I enjoyed quick workshop with my SEO guru. I use it whenever I blog or write. The link needed to be in my bookmarks.

I’ve been exploring new ways to syndicate and share digital content for years. The Top 20 Ways to Share a Great Blog Post at Mashable put most of them in the same place. Score.

I found Classroom 2.0 looking for information about how collaborative software is being use in education. Classroom 2.0 is a social network for “those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education.” Perfect.

I came across an anonymous blogging guide provided by Global Voices, “Global Voices Advocacy » Anonymous Blogging with WordPress & Tor,” through an email from the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School. It’s an important resource for any journalist or citizen in repressive regimes that need to get information out but can’t risk being identified. Given the enormous risks to life, liberty and family dissidents face for  in many parts of the globe, I wanted to make sure I saved it to review again later. Flash drive + Tor + WordPress = Anonyblogging. Smart.

I’d come across Tweet Congress before. It’s a visible element of an online movement to get Congress on Twitter. As the site notes, “Twitter enables real conversation between lawmakers and voters, in real time.” We’re all seeing it already, as Congressional staffs, Senators and Representatives adjust to the new dynamic. There’s no need for a TweetWhitehouse, as @BarackObama is already back in use again.

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about the future of online news, newspapers and digital journalism. One of the thinkers I read the most and certainly use as a hub for information is Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU. His list of 12 essays to read, a “Flying Seminar In The Future of News,” is a must-read on the topic.

I tagged Utimaco’s compliance and regulation portal after I attended on a seminar they hosted on the new MA data protection law. I wrote about what I learned there on Panels reveal risks of noncompliance with Mass. laws.

I saved Bostonist’s post @ Boston’s First Official Google Meetup because Tom Lewis recorded a short interview with me at the event. I embedded it below.

One of the starkest, clearest headlines I’ve read recently was on Washington Daily Red Meat Raises Chances Of Dying Early. The link text really says it all.

Google Moderator rounds out this “top 10″ because of its use by the WhiteHouse in soliciting questions before  the recent online town hall. I’d tweeted about the TipJar before,  where users can rate “money saving tips submitted and ranked by the Web community.” I learned at the Google Meetup in Boston that Google itself uses the moderation tool every Friday internally.

I don’t usually reblog Delicous links — this was just a helluva good week for ‘em. If you use delicious, share similar interests and would like to extend your network, you can find me at delicious at

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Happy April Fools Day online! #AprilFools is fun in 2009.

Organic Air!

Organic Air!

I had a fun time last night watching websites roll out April Fools jokes.

This morning, I saw many more go live. Fun stuff, for the most part. You can see the hoaxes, pranks and faux sites go up , more or less in real-time, by watching the AprilFools hashtag on Twitter. Here’s what I found:

I stopped tracking once I arrived in the office. I didn’t need to: @TechCrunch posted an EPIC list of 2009 #AprilFools hoaxes: | Stellar work, Michael.

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