I’m Quitting This Blog (Next Stop: The Future!)

This might get a little wordy, but I think it’s worth it. If you’re looking for the punchline, just check the end of the post

In case you haven’t noticed, it’ been a little quiet around here. Yes, I’ve been pretty busy, but that had never stopped me before.

I think somewhere in the last few months blogging has become “something I really should do” as opposed to “something I really want to do” and that’s a problem. When I started this blog 3 years (!!!) ago, the social media blogging scene was really taking off. It was an exciting time to get into the field because it felt like we were continually breaking new ground and building on the foundation of the ideas that hold up “social media” as a business element.

For those of you that printed out your first weblog posts on dot-matrix printers, that might seem like bright-eyed idealism or rosy retrospection, but it’s honestly how it felt to me. I’m sure the echo chamber was going back then, but, at least to me, it seems like it’s become much worse. So often it feels like the same content and ideas are being rehashed, linked and retweeted so much, that it’s hard to find anything new.

To me, this is where we’re missing the point. The beauty/power of social media lies in what it means and what it does, not what it is. There are much broader issues than how to get a million twitter followers and the right stuff to put on your facebook fan page. Those things are important insofar as they are tactics that support a strategy, but still, they don’t really push my thinking like they used to. Lucky for you there are many, many bloggers out there who do that type of thing better than I ever did.

Which brings us to the point (finally). If you’re skipping down, you can start reading here.

Essentially, A New Marketing as it has existed these past 3 years will no longer be. Don’t be alarmed though, this doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing. In fact, I’ll probably be doing it more.

MattJMcD.com will now become my true home on the web. A new site will go up (relatively) shortly where I’ll be able to explore more of my interests in depth, which definitely still include marketing, tech, etc. but also pop culture, gaming, sports, and anything else that gets me jazzed up. I like to think of it as a more well-rounded MattJMcD experience. (ha!)

However, I do realize that some of you may only be interested in the marketing end of things, so don’t worry, I’ll make sure it’s easy to separate that content out.

Either way, I’m excited for this transition and am looking forward to the new opportunities and challenges that come with launching a new blog. Stay tuned and be on the lookout for MattJMcD via The Internet via MattJMcD.

As always, thanks for reading.

Everyone Knows That, Right?

This is some eye-opening stuff. In one of his recent posts, Mitch Joel showcases a video from Google where they go out in the Jay Leno “Jay Walking” style and ask people on the street a (seemingly) simple question. In this case the question is: What is a browser?

That’s kids table stuff, right? Everyone knows that, I’m sure. It’s not like we’re asking about dynamic style sheets or to explain the QDF piece of Google’s algorithm.

Just watch.

Sheesh. Like Mitch says, maybe this explains why we get blank stares when we try to explain how Twitter fits into a business plan.

Think about that the next time you’re trying to explain why you should create value by engaging your community, activating your base, and empowering your biggest fans through one-to-one interaction and brand transparency.

Social via Antisocial (Zeus Jones Preso)

Wow this is great stuff.

View more presentations from Zeus Jones.

One thing this got me thinking about was the fact that to be “social” doesn’t necessarily mean you have to tweet or have a Facebook page. If you offer services or technology that works with, augments, or improves inherent social behavior, you can have more of an effect than any number of tweeted links.

Over (Inter)Active

As I tweeted this morning, Alan Wolk more-or-less read my mind today with this post titled Interaction Burnout. He gets into what I call “bad metrics” here

Much of this unnecessary patter is due to the unrealistic expectations brands (and the agencies and consultants that enable them) have for social media. Where, in a misguided quest for easily understood metrics, success has come to mean x number of Twitter followers or y number of Facebook Fan Page updates each month

This is something that drives me nuts. Social media marketing is, at its core, marketing. It’s goal is to increase sales, sign-ups, usage, etc.. Move the needle. As Alan mentions, these metrics are easy, and that’s what makes them benchmarkable, but in the end, do they really matter?

Later in the post, he’ mentions a few things companies undertaking social efforts need to understand. My favorite:

You need to find one particular area of social media you feel comfortable with – which might just be a blog or a YouTube channel — and concentrate on being really, really good at that, especially if it makes sense in terms of who your customers are.

So many people spread themselves too thin. Don’t waste 5 hours a week developing an executing your Twitter strategy if you only have a few customers there. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting “You Need to Be On Twitter!” in every newsletter and journal you get. If it’s not right, don’t waste time.

Read Alan’s entire post here.

The Platform Is The Process

Faris Yakob put some really good thoughts together in his post about Google’s Superbowl advertising spot.

His main point is that the ad wasn’t necessarily about Google Search, but more of a proof of concept for their advertising (which includes search ppc, television, etc.).

Google has been trying for years to help advertisers think about the relationship between Superbowl [or any TV spots] and search and online video, [...]

and that the proof of any new platform requires big brand case studies and support, and that having your own is always useful when talking to agencies….

And in fact they have already said they are running Chrome spots across their TV AD network as a LIVE CASE STUDY OF HOW THESE THINGS WORK TOGETHER…because you can use insight from online deployment to better plan the TV, as I’ve been saying for years, because the internet gives you real data, not nonsense from pre-testing focus groups

I think a big thing to think about here is that Google is looking at all these venues of advertising as an ecosystem, not “TV viewers interact with ads this way” and “Web users interact with ads that way”. Also, taking insights across platforms could become extremely valuable in the near future.

Community and Stubborness: Original Xbox loses Live

Well, it’s official. As of April 15th, Microsoft will be discontinuing the online Xbox Live service for the original Xbox.

My first response: Really? People still play games on the first Xbox?

In a message on the official Xbox blog, Marc Whitten wrote:

There’s no greater example of the power of the Xbox LIVE community than the “Halo” franchise. “Halo 2” has had an amazing run on LIVE, with a dedicated community more than five years after launch and well into the next generation of consoles. It has fundamentally changed the way we play video games. And while it’s difficult to see that run come to an end, the “Halo” franchise continues to act as the benchmark for multiplayer gaming in this generation, with “Halo 3,” “Halo 3: ODST” and soon “Halo: Reach” on Xbox 360.

Now normally I wouldn’t have an issue of people clinging to an old game on and old system, but in this case, the limitations of the original Xbox are actually holding the Xbox360 back in terms of what it’s capable of doing online. Interesting to see that there really was a big active community still playing games that are over 5-6 years old.

Thanks for the good times original Xbox, but stop being an anchor. It’s time to move on.

6 Bloggers I Hope Write A Book and Why

Despite some really good digital marketing/social media books out recently from the likes of Mitch Joel, Chris Brogan/Julien Smith, Tamar Weinberg, (soon to be) Greg Verdino, etc., There are still a bunch of bloggers I’d like to see put something into print. Here’s my short list. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

David Armano (Twitter)
Why I Want It: A book from Armano would most likely lie somewhere between The Back of The Napkin and Blink in terms of synthesizing complex ideas into easy visuals, and presenting something to make you think, not just a how-to. Also, a cowboy hat-including collectors edition would likely be a possibility.
What It Probably Will Be Called: Logic + Emotion: (Insert Explanatory Subtitle)
What It Should Be Called: Of Bathroom Sign People and Cowboy Hats, A David Armano story.

Jason Falls (Twitter)
Why I Want It: Jason has a knack for explaining things in clear, but intuitive ways. A book from him would probably be the kind of book you give to your boss and say “Here’s a quick primer on social media. Yes we can run ads there. And stop calling it “Facespace”. Low on ass-kissery, high on ass-kickery.
What It Probably Will Be Called: Social Media Explorer: Discover the Tools and Tactics of the New Web
What It Should Be Called: Heh.

Whitney Hess
Why I Want It: I learn something legitimate from almost every post that Whitney writes, and I think her style would translate really well into the bound medium. She makes UX feel simultaneously elemental and complex, which is hard to do.
What It Probably Will Be Called: Pleasure and Pain
What It Should Be Called: Do Your Users Want To Punch The Internet?

Scott Monty (Twitter)
Why I Want It: Scott Monty has the rare experience of having been a big part of emerging channels agency Crayon, and then transitioning to heading up social media at a little company called Ford Motors. One of the most genuine people in the business, and hands down the best dressed.
What It Probably Will Be Called: The New Big Business: Social Media for the Large Organization
What It Should Be Called: Suit-Point-Oh: Style for the Social Media-minded Man.

Bill Green (Twitter)
Why I Want It: Equal parts snark and commentary, Bill gets enough content onto his Make The Logo Bigger blog to have his own monthly magazine. While some of the best stuff is video content, there’s plenty of advertising gold to go around.
What It Probably Will Be Called: Make The Logo Bigger.
What It Should Be Called: Why I Went To Law School

Alan Wolk (Twitter)
Why I Want It: In most of my reading, I’m more interested by higher level strategy and thought-process type stuff than I am in the how-to’s of tips and tactics. Alan Wolk does a good job of blending the digital and traditional worlds to figure out what the hell is going on in advertising.
What It Probably Will Be Called: …Honestly I couldn’t guess.
What It Should Be Called: Return of the Tangerine Toad.

- Ideas on Marketing, Design, and Technology from Digital Strategist Matt J McDonald