Monday, July 28, 2008

Great List of Podcasting Resources

I'm not sure how many of you subscribe to Chris Brogan's RSS feed or his "traditional" email newsletter. I've always found Chris to be a common-sensical, well thought out source of information on social media trends, tools and tips. His latest newsletter was a valuable source of info, as always. Feel free to sign up for it here.

In his latest issue, he listed a bunch of podcasting tools, some of which I've used and some I have not. With Chris's permission, here is his list:

Again, sticking with my goal of making all podcasting content for this newsletter, let's give you five podcasting tools to check out.

  1. Odeo. Want a simple way to record a podcast on your computer? This is about as simple as it gets.
  2. Audacity. This is the opposite of easy, but it's very flexible, and a podcaster's best free multi-platform audio editing tool.
  3. TubeMogul. You've recorded a video and you want to put it in more places than just YouTube? This is your tool.
  4. Flip Video Camera. For cheap money, this is the tool of choice for SIMPLE video recording. Nearly indestructible, easy to use, and I would buy these for every field employee or remote sales person, if that was a need.
  5. Blog Talk Radio. Want a simple way to record a live audio podcast with multiple guests, callers, etc? BlogTalkRadio is the reigning champion at present, followed closely by TalkShoe. Both are great.

There you have it. Five for the podcasters. (Sure, if you're already podcasting, you probably know about all these. What would an ADVANCED 5 tools be? You tell me!)

As some of you know, I started a quasi-podcasting series of interviews and events with marketers last year and conducted interviews into this year. You can search YouTube, GoogleVideo and BlogTalkRadio, or find them on my company's website. I'm starting up a new list of people to interview over the next few months, as I'm intrigued by the impact of social media on marketing budgets. Social media, as I'm sure most of you know, has shifted from a plaything of nerds to a seriously powerful tool for business communications.

Two questions:

1) are there other tools besides the ones Chris listed that you find valuable?

2) after listening/viewing my interviews, it occurred to me that a year ago all of them admitted to reviewing social media tools but none had funded any programs. What new questions do you think I should ask senior marketing executives? How many social media programs do you think have been funded...and at what budget level? Should PR and social media be integrated or kept separate? How about social media efforts and the sales team?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Official Twittter Summize Post

Here is the now famous post on Twitter's blog: Twitter Blog: Finding A Perfect Match.

A few quick thoughts: I think this is a good move and I think there will be a lot more matching, merging and acquiring in the months to come. There are a lot of really interesting social media tools out there but none are perfect and/or as fully featured as we'd like. Rather than spend money to develop these features, its becomes smarter to buy them.

Google Political Video Search

Google is rolling out a new service that should be interesting. It's a video search tool that parses the text of political speeches and makes it searchable. Here is the link to the announcement on Google's blog:

Here is a snippet of what they say:
Our teams have been working to develop tools to make it easier for people to track election-related information. A few months back, YouTube encouraged everyone to participate in the discussion process through the CNN/YouTube debates, Google Checkout offered an easy and fast way for individuals to make contributions to political candidates, and the Geo team created maps and layers to inform voters during elections.

Today, the Google speech team (part of Google Research) is launching the Google Elections Video Search gadget, our modest contribution to the electoral process. With the help of our speech recognition technologies, videos from YouTube's Politicians channels are automatically transcribed from speech to text and indexed. Using the gadget you can search not only the titles and descriptions of the videos, but also their spoken content. Additionally, since speech recognition tells us exactly when words are spoken in the video, you can jump right to the most relevant parts of the videos you find. Here's a look:

Kind of cool, eh? I mean, if you are really big political nerd, that is...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Air Farce

Looks like our Air Force is being run by idiots. It's probably not their fault that the current war has no need for strategic bombing or air supremacy fighters. But you'd think that they'd at least take the free time this generates to improve themselves. You know, streamline procurement regulations, develop new strategies and technologies that are actually useful in defeating our enemies, stuff like that.

Most of you are probably unaware that the Air Force has a very old fleet of refueling tankers. Most of these planes were built back in the 1950's and 1960's. Most of them are going to fall out of the sky soon, and the ones that don't are extremely fuel inefficient. There is a strong argument for making the capital investment ($100B over 20 years) in replacing the fleet with new planes.

Now, there are only two companies that make big planes these days. This fact you may have heard before. The two are Boeing and Airbus. Boeing is an American company and Airbus is a British, French, German conglomerate. Airbus is also partnering with Northrop Grumman (an American company) to help build and service their planes.

The Air Force held a competition to select one company to build the new fleet. They picked Boeing. Airbus/Northop complained and the Air Force overruled them. Then Boeing got caught bribing the chief procurement officer at the Air Force. The Air Force decided on a do over. This time, Airbus/Northop won and Boeing complained. Then the Air Force secretary and his chief of staff got fired. The Government Accounting Office issued a report complaining about irregularities in the selection process. Today, the Secretary of Defense said there was going to be another do over, but this time his office, not the Air Force, would run the process.

Most people I meet around the country think DC is full of corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists. I say, "no, no, we have a bad rap- we're selfless patriots doing the people's business." They complain about the revolving door between government and industry, and I say, "no, no, you don't understand. It's not like that" Then they point to the tanker deal and I don't have anything to say. It's embarrassing. What a debacle.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I'm an info-addict

I've noticed for a long time now that it takes me longer to get certain things done nowadays than it used to. Writing and reading online are frequently interrupted by emails, cell phone calls, Twits, etc. I've spent the better part of the last two weeks writing, and re-writing proposals for work. In order to get this process completed, I've had to shut down Twitter, turn off my cell, avoid my blog, and log out of Google Reader. I think I'm an info-addict.

I read Wikipedia voluntarily and with no real purpose. A simple Google search for research on e34 BMW's will send me on a half hour mindless trip through the blogosphere clicking here and clicking there and ending up on a graduate student paper on political intrigues between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines in the Twelfth century Holy Roman Empire. Clearly, I have a problem.

We all do, really. Technology has been designed to get us all the information all the time. We don't need it, but it's there now. It's inescapable.

Gordon Gravitz of the Wall Street Journal has an article about information overload and some of the steps being taken to deal with it. Here is a quote:

Warning: On average, knowledge workers change activities every three minutes, usually because they're distracted by email or a phone call. It then takes almost half an hour to get back to the task once attention is lost. So if you're trying to read this column at the office or within range of your mobile device, what should be a few minutes can take much longer. Consider the rest of this article an 800-word test of your ability to maintain attention.

A decline in our ability to focus is a side effect of the otherwise powerful tools we use to gather and analyze information. A new organization has just been launched, the Information Overload Research Group, whose founders include executives from companies such as Microsoft, Google, IBM and Intel. These are the very companies that have done the most to create the information tools that undermine our ability to focus; indeed, an initiative from them to address too much information could be compared to video-game programmers launching a line of Zen meditation centers. Still, it's encouraging that the most information-intense companies are trying to overcome their own overload.

I know now that there is no way I can absorb all the information provided for me. Even bookmarking and crowd sourcing websites are of limited value- I see too much "majority rules" bias in them. I have to be very disciplined about what I read, and why. I don't think that a software filter will be able to do this very human task. Many human beings aren't going to be able to discipline themselves, and will still have a need for trusted authorities.