Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Worldwide Conversation and the Role of Social Media

Last evening I attended a very interesting MassTLC Social Media Cluster event featuring David Weinberger, the co-author of Cluetrain Manifesto and the author of soon-to-be published Everything is Miscellaneous.

After David’s insightful presentation on how we are moving rapidly to an All-to-All disbursement of news digitally, creating “The Daily Me” rather than an editorially controlled publication or broadcast, there was a lively discussion among the attendees with David. Capabilities such as tagging have blurred the distinctions between metadata and data and how information is organized for the individual. Publicly negotiated knowledge is changing the role of experts – and if an expert chooses not to engage in the conversation – new experts and content will arise. Newly defined roles for experts, such as news aggregators, will continue to grow. And of course the role of our traditional media will have to change.

Issues such as how do marketers respond to these fast moving opportunities and privacy concerns were expressed as well as how regulators and the publishing industry will try to continue to control the disbursement of information to all of us.

Paul Gillin, who is the chairman of the Social Media Cluster and author of the newly published The New Influencers, was in attendance contributing to the discussion.

The session was thought provoking, as intended, and will continue to drive discussion among all of us on leveraging the new social media.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Survey Says Email Trumps Spouse, Coffee and Chocolate

InfoWeek recently picked up on a survey by IncrediMail Ltd. that reveals just how devoted to our email we've become. More than 10,000 IncrediMail users completed the survey, with 73.8% indicating that email is essential to their lives.

When asked what they would rather give up for a day instead of losing email, the surveyed said that they would rather forego:
  • chocolate (54.4%)'
  • coffee (50.2%)
  • television (41.4%)
  • their cell phone (38.4%)
  • their spouse/significant other (14.9%)
In the interest of marital harmony, I will not be asking my Blackberry-wielding spouse the survey questions.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Power to Portfolio

Conde Nast’s highly anticipated business magazine Portfolio made its hard copy debut in New York City today. Those of us not living in the Big Apple will see this May issue at our local newsstands on April 24. Born in the image of sister pubs Vanity Fair and Vogue, Portfolio boasts an all-star publishing and editorial team with too many acclaimed journalists to mention. A snapshot: E-in-C Joanne Lipman, formerly of WSJ; Kevin Maney, whose name became synonymous with USA Today’s tech coverage; and Blaise Zerega, of Wired and Red Herring fame.

We at CHEN PR send our best mojo to the mag for much success. It’s great to see a new, well-funded, well-marketed magazine/web site coming to life in what are fairly characterized as trying times for the publishing biz.

And special thanks to Portfolio’s S.E. Kramer for including Boston-Power Founder & CEO Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud in today’s online article, Charging Ahead. The piece highlights the insatiable need we all have for better portable power solutions. Christina shares her thoughts on Boston-Power’s Sonata product – a next-gen lithium-ion-based battery initially targeting notebook computers – is presented, picture and all, as an example of what’s coming…

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Profile of NPR's Juan Williams

Juan Williams, senior correspondent for NPR, is one of my favorite reporters. He digs in. He rarely lets his subjects get away with say-nothing answers, so his interviews are substantial and rich.

Bulldog Reporter features a profile today with an in-depth interview. It's all a good read, but here's one of the more interesting snippets:

Is there a danger or downside to that "affirming" aspect of new media?

Yeah, I call it narrowcasting as opposed to broadcasting. In narrowcasting, you have a danger where people are no longer hearing stories about others in American life. In journalism, there is the old maxim that we must "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Now, the "comfortable" in any narrow interest group hear only what they want to—they associate and are exposed only to the beliefs or perspectives they already hold.

So the downside is not using Web 2.0 as a way to expand your consciousness to other issues. The whole notion of opening yourself becomes more difficult when the media is seeking comfort food for the mind and delivering only your "favorites." I think some in the media are falling victim to that. They're not trying to stretch their audience's minds. Instead, they're simply reassuring their audience's way of thinking.

You see this everywhere the media is becoming more niche. Just look at cable. You get "conservative" FoxNews and "liberal" CNN. The result, I think, is that broadcast networks have abandoned true news.

Monday, April 02, 2007

"Leaving Microsoft" Founder on Oprah!

Some of you may recall that Leaving Microsoft to Change the World was my Book of the Year for last year, earning the coveted (ha!) spot in my signature for a month or so at the end of last year. Here's my November post on this wonderful book.

The book in a nutshell - Founder John Wood leaves a high-flying career at Microsoft to found a nonprofit, Room to Read, with the goal of building libraries and schools in developing countries. Since my last post on Room to Read, John has been busy conducting a worldwide book tour for Leaving Microsoft. In February, the organization announced a $1 million grant from The Goldman Sachs Foundation to support the continued build-out of Room to Read's educational programs in India. You can read about it in this WSJ article.

Tomorrow, John will be featured on Oprah, along with other folks who are making a difference. This segment is touted on Oprah's site, and is already generating lots of comments there. Oprah will be issuing a challenge to her audience to support RtR's work through a book drive at, which will raise funds for new local language books and libraries.

Set those DVRs! Having seen John on book tour in Boston, he will not disappoint.