Friday, May 30, 2008

Straight to the Point- Now with Three Columns!

As you may have noticed, I now have three columns on this blog. I bet you are wondering, wow, that's exciting, why did he do that?

Well, let me tell you.

I have been of the opinion that the content of blog determine, in part, its value. Content, in my case, is the words that communicate an idea. The main idea of my blog is to highlight the fundamental changes going on the public relations industry as it is transformed by the impact of so-called web 2.0 technology (social media, blogs, twitter, etc) from the slightly critical perspective of a early mainstream adopter. As you can tell, I'll post about technology and business news as well, but this is the main thrust of the blog.

So why, three columns? When I started up this blog over a year ago, I wanted to make sure the focus was on the words, so I avoided any templates that were too graphics heavy. I picked a plain vanilla Minima Lefty template from Blogger. It's simple and clean. Now, I've added a bunch of widgets and other crap to the site over time that have pushed that content waaay down the page, which kind of bothered me.

The other day, one of our client teams was asking if anyone know anything about converting a two column Blogger template into a three column one. I volunteered to be the guinea pig. Voila!

Just for your edification, a step by step is located here:

It's actually a fairly simple process, but since I'm almost completely ignorant of coding above a very simple level, it took me about two hours. If you have any skill at all, block out about five minutes.

So, tell me what you think? Better? Worse? Should I add color? Should I stop blogging? ;)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Steve Jobs Wants to Know Where You Are, Right Now.

A couple of data points today that strike me as interesting.

1. Apple is looking at launching a mobile iTunes. Read the story on the NY Times.

2. Juniper released a report on Location Based Services (LBS), or mobile web 2.0, and stated that the market is expected to grow to $22.4 billion by 2013 from $5.5 billion this year.

"Combining the power of the social network map - namely: 'who I know, how I know and where I know' - with that of mobility, presents the greatest opportunity for revenue generation," Juniper Research analyst Ian Chard.
LBS raises some ickey privacy issues amongst a lot of people. Apple was the first company to popularize a paid, closed, DRM protected music service, which used to be a hot button issue. If anyone can sell people on 100% spatial transparency and make them pay for it, it's Steve Jobs and company.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Networx's First Big Deal- Qwest Down for the Count?

It looks like we have the first really big task order out of the Networx contract- $679m from DHS for Verizon. Here is the write up from FierceTelecom:
The federal government's Networx Universal project is finally yielding some revenue for telcos. The Department of Homeland Security awarded about $679 million worth of work from a $1 billion, 10-year contract to Verizon Communications, with potentially another $292 million from the contract going to AT&T as a back-up service provider. The DHS deal involves more than 5,000 employees and 22 different agencies. Verizon will consolidate multiple wide area network architectures on a secure IP infrastructure.

Perhaps the contract will be an ice-breaker between government agencies and the carriers authorized to bid on Networx Universal deals. Since carriers received authorization more than a year ago, very few Networx contracts have been drawn up. The telecom industry has been expecting that would change as this year plays out. The DHS deal is the largest Networx contract awarded thus far.

And here is some more indepth analysis from NetworkWorld:
Verizon Business has captured one of the largest federal network deals of 2008: a 10-year contract to provide managed network and security services to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that is valued at $678.5 million. AT&T Government Solutions is the secondary provider for the project, dubbed OneNet, winning a 10-year contract worth an estimated $292 million.

Losing out on this much-anticipated deal was Qwest Communications.
If the government is going to split the deals between Verizon and AT&T that doesn't leave much business left over for Qwest, does it? Qwest is going to have to be more creative, more aggressive and bang the drum very, very loudly in order to get any kind of traction.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Links: Al Gore and Digg

A couple of interesting links, thanks to my crack research staff ;)

Holly Sanders writes in the NY Post (always a great read) that Online Ad Spending Estimates Drop for Social Nets.
Web ad tracker eMarketer cut its ad spending estimates for Facebook, MySpace and other social-networking sites amid growing questions over whether such sites will attract major ad dollars.
Hmmm. You can just hear the valuations for Facebook, Digg, etc sliding down the garbage disposal, right?

On a related note, Michael Arrington brings our attention to the hilarious revelation in Sarah Lacey's new book that Al Gore tried to buy Digg for $100 million. My thoughts are this: if an idiot wants to buy your web 2.0 company for a large amount of money based on inflated guesstimates of your future ad revenue, let him... before the estimates are revised down.

A bird in hand is better than...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How Do I Find Time to Blog?

You know, one the main challenges I face with this blog is making the time to post new, valuable content to it. My employer pays me to develop new business opportunities and manage the ongoing marketing efforts for the agency. This is a full time job.

The rise of blogging and social media over the past four years or so have been interesting in that they didn't really replace any of the day to day activities that I'm responsible for. I still need to network, call people, email contacts, research companies, monitor competitors, update and clean databases, maintain the website, prepare newsletters, schedule events, contribute to the agency's internal daily email, manage my relationships with my colleagues and keep abreast of the latest trends and developments in business as a whole, the technology community specifically and the PR industry too.

Now, add in time for blogging, twittering, etc. Yes, that's adding in time. You see, blogging and participating in social networking doesn't really replace any of the above items, it enhances and supports them. Being a credible participant in the social networks I chose to join requires that I create valuable content for others to consume. That takes time and effort...and most importantly, thought. As I've said before, content is king.

But there is a limit to how much content I can create, given all my other responsibilities. I've been posting roughly 7-ish posts a months for over a year now. That's less than twice a week. I've tried to boost my output lately and have gotten good results in terms of traffic. But I've found that blogging more is coming at the expense of other things I have to do. So I've tried to increase my productivity and blog more efficiently: ie, write drafts for several posts, so I have backups ready to go if I can't think of anything interesting to day. But I know I can get better.

Do you have any tips/suggestions for how to blog/comment/twitter more efficiently without it becoming a time suck?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

World Leaders as Kids, Teenagers

Too funny and fascinating not to post to the old blog. Pictures of world leaders as little kids and young people!! (Found this while on Mixx)

Oh, W, buddy, what are you thinking?

MySpace Annoucing Open Data Portability?

Hat tip to Nick O'Neill at Social Times for breaking the story, it looks as if MySpace is announcing that they have partnered with Yahoo, Twitter and others to have open portable profiles. TechCruch has more information here and shows a mock up of what it would look like while on Twitter.

This new found openness along with the developing Open Social standard will go a long way to creating a social networking environment that doesn't require me to keep 57 usernames and passwords and create a new friggin profile every time a new app or website pops up.