Top 150 Media & Marketing Blogs

Just came across this useful list from Adage. Check it out here. Good to know who the online influencers are. Not surprised that Seth Godin’s blog is #1, he’s considered king amongst online marketers.

Also, high up there are Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch, which I occassionally read as well to stay on top of the search game. Problogger is up there too, one of the top authorities on blogging and its Australian too!

Speaking of search, I’m going to be doing a few things to get up to speed on the search industry:

– I’m doing the google adwords webinars. They have these web seminars about various topics. It’s like 1 or two a week. There’s one on tomorrow at 11am for Quality Scores. This is free.

– I’m also attending the Yahoo search Masterclass at ad:tech. It’s on the 11 – 12 March at 12pm. Next Digital is actually speaking straight after at 1pm on Digital Marketing Strategy.Free.

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MC Yammer: Can’t Touch This

At work, I’ve been given a new responsibility – Yammer Evangelist. Yes, I know you are thinking, what is Yammer? And what the heck is an evangelist.

In short, Yammer is a text messaging application similar to Twitter or Facebook status updates. I’ve spoken about Yammer previously on this blog. It is geared more towards organisations / corporates because it allows for closed networks. Whereas Twitter is open to the world.

Much like Twitter, it allows you to write a short message and have a profile page. But the advantages of Yammer is that it is a closed group only open to those you invite or on your company’s email domain. For example, our Yammer is only open to Sydney employees of Next Digital. The advantage of Yammer is that you can broadcast to the group and get responses immediately. You can obviously do this over email as well but often there are too many emails flying around and some people are included and some are not. Also, its hard to keep track of conversations. Yammer groups the conversations together, and you can see the replies in a threaded view.

You can call me MC Yammer

You can call me MC Yammer

Yammer kicks ass because it reduces email clutter. It enables conversations to develop and it keeps responses short (KISS principle in full effect). While twitter only allows for 140 characters, Yammer has no limitation. You can also add attachments to Yammer posts, using browse function or you can drag and drop.

Other cool advantages of Yammer:

  • Ability to create subgroups: We have a group for basketball team, and this is where the real action happens. We discuss practice discussions, admin, jerseys, who’s playing, etc..It allows for collaboration and dynamic discussion.
  • Follow and unfollow people: Yammer actually will suggest to you who you should follow. You don’t have to follow everyone in your company’s network. By following certain people, those conversations will be prominent and reduces all the clutter/  spam out there in the Yammesphere. The suggestions from Yammer will get smarter over time, but they are supposedly based on the organisational hierarchy and reporting relationships, and who your colleagues are following.
  • Create a profile: similar to a company intranet, you can fill out your bio like education, career history, who you report to and who you work with. Not many people in my company have filled it out, but hopefully that will change.
  • Desktop app: Yammer is web service (like Twitter or facebook you can login). But those cool cats out there like myself have downloaded the desktop app and I keep it open all day. I guess its similar to Tweetdeck for Twitter or MSN browser. It uses Adobe Air, which is very slick.
  • The conversations are searchable and taggable. If you use a hashtag before a word e.g. #basketball , it will recognise that as a keyword and will tag that conversation. I can choose to follow all conversations that have #basketball. This is quite useful if you have a bunch of people talking about a specific client or an activity. Conversations are easily searchable using Yammer’s search engine.
  • Sync it with google chat in gmail. So if I’m using gmail, and I want to post something, I open the Yammer chat box and post from there.
  • Send posts & recieve posts via SMS – I have set it up but I don’t want to pay for it and I’m not sure if I want work stuff sent to my phone. But the option is there.
  • Creating a more open and collaborative culture within the workplace. People are posting one to many conversation points, and getting more opinions. I think its less inhibiting than sending out a group email. A lot of times, if I’m sending out an email to the whole office, I ‘ll look at it several times, edit and think will this be ok? Whereas a post on Yammer is a microblogging service, 140 characters is not going to kill me. I’m going to get a lot more useful suggestions asking an office of 30 people in the open then a small select group of people.
The Yammer Formula

The Yammer Formula

I believe that Yammer has taken Twitter’s model and corporatised it. It could be one of the few Twitter type services that actually can make money. I don’t see how Twitter itself can make money off the service it provides. But Yammer charges for customisation, secure domain access using https (hypertext transfer protocol over secure socket layer) thus encrypting it like a bank website, full admin access, etc…. It charges something like $1 per user, but larger groups are offered as a discount.

I think Yammer will work effectively in our office because its not that big. We have roughly 25-30 employees and only a 1/3 are active users. Once more people start getting more active, it will be even better. It will be interesting to see how it run in a much larger environment like say our Melbourne office which as 150 people. In general, experiments like this work better on a smaller scale and there is inherently less clutter to begin with and you know everyone on the network relatively well.

The role of the Yammer Evangelist

I’m still yet to get a really good definition of an evangelist that sticks in my mind. But I believe the purpose as described to me, is to encourage adoption of Yammer, become the guru/troubleshooter and answer people’s question, and lead in it use. I also have started sending out posts on how to optimise its use as well and to stay up to date with what’s happening by reading the blog/website/other sources and participating in external discussions.

Bringing the balloon pants into fashion

Bringing the balloon pants into fashion

I’ve actually read everything on the Yammer website as well as all the blog posts, so that part shouldn’t be hard. I’ve also commented on TechCrunch’s article on Yammer’s $5m capital raising as well as an article in the NY Times blog. You get a lot of interesting feedback from other users in external companies. For example, someone said you should encourage staff to post 2-3 times a day, and its a good way to see what everyone is up to. I might see someone working on a particular project which I read about last week, and then if I have a question I will shoot them a yammer post or IM (instant message them).

I’ll post another update in a month or so and discuss further developments.

I’m out like email clutter,

Matthew Ho.

p.s. Yammer also won TechCrunch top prize in 2008

Google on Public Policy

I read about 5 – 6 different Google Blogs such as the Official Google Blog, Adwords Agency Blog, Adsense and the Gmail Blog. It’s necessary for me to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Google. The great thing about Google is that they have a lot of different departments blogging and keeping the dialogue open with the general community at large. They’ve got 100’s of blogs and I think it’s great. As soon as something new happens, these guys blog about it and it’s really setting the standard for other organisations.

One of the more interesting blogs I have come across is the Google Public Policy Blog. It’s probably not as well read as the other blogs but I would argue that its just as important. An indicator of how popular a blog is the feedburner counter (i.e. how many people subscribe). It’s only at 5,475 compared with 529,000 on the official Google Blog.

Its important to hear about Google’s views on public policy and government. As an organisation, it has really become monolothic and huge like almost overnight – its only really a decade old. Compare this with other other organisations of similar size which probably took decades to build  i.e. 30 – 100 years . It is a very influential organisation which interacts with millions of people on a daily basis through search, email, video, RSS, advertising, maps and so on.

Google is so dominant in the field of search it is without peer. Hence, when they tried to do a business deal with Yahoo to display ads, people were jumping up and down like mad. It has to deal with a lot of issues such as its monopolistic practices, anti-trust,  influence on the U.S government through lobbying on access to more bandwidth access for the community, net neutrality, green energy, etc..

The blog could be no more than a mouthpiece for Google’s lobbying efforts to Washington. But from what I have read, it has a lot of interesting information on its views and thought policies. I probably find this more interesting than most people as well, since I’m a qualified lawyer who now works in digital marketing.

On a related note, the interaction between law and the internet continues to evolve. One of the big issues at the moment are the legal issues around user generated content (UGC). I’m probably in a unique position because I’m one of the few people that subscribe and regularly read the Law Society and other legal publications and also marketing publications such as B&T. I can see that its attracting a lot of attention because the talk is heating up in these magazines and on the web. UGC is stuff that users of social media generate, e.g. facebook and youtube videos, flickr photos, etc… The legal issues are around ownership, copyright, defamation, privacy and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

I’m out like a decade,

Matthew Ho.

Free Lecture on blogs, wikis, and youtube…..

My old university has a free lecture on web 2.0 topic. I actually paid to go a similar lecture by the Australian Marketing Institute. I wanted to go to a Law Society lecture last week on Internet and copyright/terms of contracts for websites, but alas I was sick. The details for the free uni lecture is below:

UTSpeaks: Hearing, Seeing, Knowing More
This public lecture explores the phenomenon of emergent media – blogs, Facebook, YouTube, podcasting, wikis and more – for their social consequences and the long-term change they may bring about for people, politics and public and private sectors. Speaker Dr Jim Macnamara is UTS Director of the Australian Centre for Public Communication and has had a distinguished 30-year career working in professional communication practice.

Date: Wednesday 11 June 2008 from 6pm
Venue: University Hall, Science Building, 745 Harris St
Free parking: Peter Johnson Building basement car park 702-730 Harris St, Ultimo
RSVP: Tuesday 10 June 2008 to robert.button@uts.edu.au or (02) 9514 1734

UTSPEAKS: is a free public lecture series presented by UTS experts discussing a range of important issues confronting contemporary Australia. To subscribe to the UTSpeaks public lecture series, register at http://sendstudio.itd.uts.edu.au

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On a more historic note, the Apple iphone comes out soon! And they are unveiling the Apple Store next month. They’ve also planned a store in Chatswood and Melbourne. I’ve been to 3 or 4 apple stores in my travels around the world (New York, Tokyo, Osaka, and San Francisco) and I loved all of them!

I’m out like the pre-Iphone days!

Matt