158 posts categorized "blogging"

August 05, 2010

It's Alive!

In my latest article for Insights from the Click Here Blog, I was happy to reference one of my favorite movies from childhood, Young Frankenstein, starring one of my favorite actors, former Marine Gene Hackman. As a little afternoon diversion, here is his scene from the movie.


When you get a chance, stop by to learn the 3 ways to make your undead website sing and dance. - Cam Beck

May 19, 2010

Age of Conversation 3: By the Numbers

AOC3 Buy it on Amazon

171 writers

15 countries

2 editors

202 pages

10 sections

$25,000 raised for charity (Books one and two).

Our illustrious and (apparently) indefatigable editors, Drew and Gavin, gave this version of the book structure and a directive: Make this something business people can use. There are enough self-proclaimed "social media experts" out there, and it's easy to be duped. How do you apply yourself in this age of constant communication? What is most important to know?

Once again, I tip my hat to Drew, Gavin, and the other 168 authors who made this possible. I was and continue to be honored to be a part of it.

In spite of having 171 writers, the essays are well constructed and easy to digest independently, and they work well together as a whole. Each one is 400 words or less (and I understand Drew and Gav were very strict about that point). Good for a snack, a light lunch or a meal.

Official press release  |  Buy Age of Conversation 3

- Cam Beck

October 20, 2009

Beware of Zombies

Facing a deadline for my contribution to the Click Here blog, I finally settled down on a subject. However, it was a bit different from the one I previously said I'd write about. John Keehler asked to see it before I posted it, so I took the opportunity to tell him that I had changed subjects, but -- not to worry -- he'd love it.

"Is it about zombies," he asked.

And I thought about it.

No, it really wasn't, but it with a tweak here and an insertion there -- it very well could be. Or at least I could use them as an analogy to make the point.

Home pages have historically been a hotbed of contentious debate.  Because of this, they are what Steve Krug called “The First Casualty of War.”

Why are they so controversial?

Because everyone wants a piece of the action. Because organizations typically work in silos, different departments feel slighted if their discipline isn’t “adequately” represented on the home page. One would think by all the name-calling and weepy eyes that the home page is kind of a big deal.

And they’re right. The home page is – kind of – a big deal. But not for the reasons people tend to get worked up about. After all, typically, only 40% of traffic to a website comes through the home page.

But as a consequence of their inability to set boundaries and priorities, they compromise the very purpose of the page. Every piece of real estate is up for grabs. The result of all the haggling may actually, as Krug suggests, kill the home page. But unlike a typical dead thing, it doesn’t go away. Like a zombie, it is reanimated into an unrecognizable abomination of its formal self.

Read the rest of Your Home Page is a Zombie at the Click Here blog. - Cam Beck

April 03, 2009

Friday Fun (Slightly Politically Incorrect)

The last post left me a little unfulfilled, so I wanted to make it up by posting one of my favorite Johnny Cash videos, courtesy of Sesame Street.

Have a great weekend! - Cam Beck

Cleaning House: Spammers Raining On Our Parade

Due to an enormous influx of spam, we've turned on the CAPTCHA requirement for comments.

We hope this change will be temporary. We apologize for the inconvenience. - Cam Beck

From Wikipedia:
What is CAPTCHA?

Update:
Apparently the spammer is able to get by CAPTCHA, so we're going to require authentication for a little while until we get this problem fixed. Thank you for your patience!

February 27, 2009

Five in the Morning

A little while back, Steve Woodruff tapped me for continuing his excellent "5 in the Morning" series, which allows bloggers to highlight articles you might have missed. Below is my contribution.

  1. How to approach a problem by Inspire UX
  2. Is the beautifully simple Macintosh OSX interface the panacea of interface design? Not according to Bruce Tognazzini of NN/g.
  3. Anyone who has ever bought a bleeding-edge device and had difficulty trying to use it can surely appreciate this piece from the Onion via 90 percent of everything (language advisory).
  4. Business Intelligence is rated a #1 technology priority for CIOs, and #5 business priority (Perhaps this second number should be moved up).
  5. Steve Roesler advises us to look at presentations the same way Oglivy looked at advertising. Long live the big idea.

Thanks, Steve, for allowing me to participate!

Subscribe: ChaosScenario / Steve Woodruff's StickyFigure blog
Follow on Twitter: Cam Beck / Steve Woodruff

February 06, 2009

Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace: Managing Your Profile and Hedging Your Bets

As they say, the only two things that are certain are death and taxes. The rest is open to interpretation. This includes the suitability of a candidate for any given position. Therefore, whether you're looking for a job or looking for a good person to fill a job, you're putting something valuable at risk -- either your time or your money. If job hunting is a gamble, then why not hedge your bets a bit?

The following is part of an exchange between banking guru J.P. Morgan and a member of a congressional committee in the early 20th century.

Congressman: Is not commercial credit based primarily on money or property?
J.P.M.: No, sir. The first thing is character.
Congressman: Before money or property?
J.P.M.: Before money or anything else. Money cannot buy it.

Long résumés and walls full of degrees and commendations have their place, but in the pantheon of qualifications, I wouldn't rank them the highest. Like Morgan, I would put a premium on character. In fact, here's how I would rank the order of importance.

  1. Character
  2. Intelligence (general and specific)
  3. Specific experience
  4. Education

Why you should be all over the 'net

The problem is that character and intelligence aren't easy to put on a résumé. Some people get by with listing experience (especially pro bono work they've done) and education, but that will only get you so far. Although they're often a good starting point, companies know the story doesn't end there.

And increasingly, they know how to use Google.

Knowing this, you really have only two choices:

  1. Ignore it and try to fly under Google's considerably effective radar, or
  2. Embrace it and influence it as much as you can

Number 1 may work only if you have no friends or a name like "Abraham Lincoln." In the first case, even if you try to fly under the radar, your friends may have other ideas about your desire for anonymity, and if you're not actively telling your story, someone else may be. In the second case... let's face it... Companies would be hard-pressed to find information about you when they have to navigate through all the information about that other guy.

Number 2, on the other hand, gives you an opportunity to tell your side of the story before anyone else does. If you're a private person and are uncomfortable with being "out there," you have the ability to moderate your level of personal disclosure.

If you're prolific, you can ensure prospective employers (or clients, if you're self-employed) can become convinced that you may have the qualities they seek in a candidate. If they don't value those qualities, they're probably not a good fit for you anyway.

That way, if there are any issues (fairly or unfairly) that call your character into question (Remember those parties you attended when you were 25?) they will be drowned out by the story you'd rather they see.

Just make sure your online persona is consistent with the way you want others to see you. - Cam Beck

January 29, 2009

What's Your Blog's Personality?

I heard on the radio that there was a site out there that analyzed the text on blogs and determined from your writing style what your personality is.

A short Google search later, I found Typealyzer, which had this to say about the writing style of ChaosScenario:

The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever.

The Duty Fulfillers are happy to be let alone and to be able to work in their own pace. They know what they have to do and how to do it.

To help give the analysis context, the site gives a "scan" of the brain parts presumably most heavily used. Here's what ours looks like:
BlogPersonality
The site doesn't claim to test the actual personality of the site author, but rather the personality of the role that person assumes when writing the blog. Hence, on another blog I author, though my brain diagram was similar, my analysis seemed much different:

The long-range thinking and individualistic type. They are especially good at looking at almost anything and figuring out a way of improving it - often with a highly creative and imaginative touch. They are intellectually curious and daring, but might be physically hesitant to try new things.

The Scientists enjoy theoretical work that allows them to use their strong minds and bold creativity. Since they tend to be so abstract and theoretical in their communication they often have a problem communicating their visions to other people and need to learn patience and use concrete examples. Since they are extremely good at concentrating they often have no trouble working alone.

It's an interesting exercise and you should really try it out, but without a clear view of "the man behind the curtain," I'd admonish you to take Typealyzer's advice and "don't take it too seriously."

It doesn't measure the quality of a blog; it just gives you something to think about. - Cam Beck

P.S. Typealyzer would do well to turn its results into distributable content. I'm sure a lot of bloggers would be glad to spread the word if it were easy to do so -- even if, like me, they don't completely understand it.

October 29, 2008

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September 10, 2008

The Advertiser's Burden

Last month Seth Godin suggested that, for those content sites (like blogs) that have online advertising, if readers like the content, they might thank the content creator by clicking on an ad.

By ignoring ads, he says, "you're starving content."

Stop ignoring ads and just click on one. The writer will benefit and, as a result, keep putting out great content.

But in most cases, the user won't benefit.

That's why they won't click. It's asking a lot of users to stop whatever it is they're doing and not only click, but consider converting on the site they land on, when they had something else in mind when they landed on the page with the ad in the first place.

Instead, advertisers must find a way to transcend interruption. That is, clicking on a link has to be such a seamless part of the user experience that it actually fulfills or enhances the need that brought the user to the ad in the first place.

We're not going to win by wishing that users would just click on ads out of their own magnanimity.

We'll win only if we create value for the users in a way that satisfies the context of their behavior at a particular moment in time. - Cam Beck