September 29, 2008

Why We Blog

At BlogOrlando the closing session was Erik Hersman speaking about why we blog. His Afrigadget and WhiteAfrican sites were just the start of his social media experiment (see previous post). Glenda Watson Hyatt wasn't at BlogOrlando, she chose BlogWorld instead, but her video on why she blogs is as powerful as any I've ever seen.

The Future

I have a bit of a futurist streak in me. So I can identify with this video. The visuals were compiled by Cordt Holland and the music is by Todd Rundgren titled "Future".

"The Future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed"
- William Gibson

September 28, 2008

BlogOrlando 3 through other people's eyes

While I did liveblog the sessions I attended, there were five seperate tracks, which meant there was more amazing material to absorb than one could possibly attended. Thankfully others have been blogging the sessions they attended. I'll try and collect as many of them as I can here.

FunkeeMonkeeLand blogged first about the morning sessions he attended ( Jake McKee's Keynote, Raising Digital Children, Wordpress Advanced, and Wordpress Themes  ) in one post then all the afternoon sessions he attended (Going Beyond Google, New New Media, Traditional Media and the Web, and The Orlando Scene ) in a second post.

September 27, 2008

Why We Blog by Erik Hersman; BlogOrlando closing session

Erik Hersman is the White African. He does good everyday, has spoken at TED conference, and had a website chosen as one of the 50 most important by (Time?). His session Why We Blog at BlogOrlando will end the day. Erik writes two blogs - AfriGadget and White African. He helped start Ushahidi in Kenya to help with crowdsourcing crisis information around the Kenya election.

A blog is a tool, but you can't teach passion and inner drive. The blogger has to have that themselves. Aysmptotic Growth. Blogs in your niche will grow faster than your blog (I know that). Erik's blogging rules: Committment to blogging, quality posts, and consistent over time. But because of the nature of social media you will have a smaller and smaller slice of the pie.

So why do we blog, because we CARE about something. When you have passion about something you can make a difference.

Afrigadget is a group blog who tell stories and interview people around Africa about technology and gadgets in Africa. It was one of the 50 best blogs of 2008 according to Time Magazine. People profiled usually get more business or connections from the publicity.

The Orlando Scene with Ryan Price & Alex Rudloff

And now I find myself in the The Orlando Scene session (part deux). Last year was a great session, if a bit cheerleader. In the last 12 months so many things have changed and grown and now we have another time for a War Room.

Ryan Price and Alex Rudloff are hosting the conspiracy planning and were off. Ryan's talking about his history with finding and growing an Orlando Community.

Alex Hillman "you know the charge you're getting from BlogOrlando. Imagine working in that environment everyday all day. That's CoWorking" (paraphrased). Sounds like a place I would like to work in. Plus more motivational stuff from Alex. In short, just get started doing stuff. There's a group out there that will support you

The Orlando Scene:
(this will grow, and I'll add links as time goes on)
Florida Creatives - Wiki / Orlando Section is killer.
BarCamp Orlando / BarCamp Chaos (Maker Ethos) / BarCamp Tampa
Orlando Likemind
ORUG - Orlando Ruby Users Group

Digital Media Alliance Florida ( 501.c.6 Nonprofit Lobby Group
CoLab - downtown space.
CoWorking Orlando Group (StarDust on Tuesdays, Google Group)

Other resources
UCF Incubator
Disney Entrepreneur Center
The Knowledge Shop (Casselberry)

Please email me if you can add anything else to this list.

Movements, Activism, and Social Media

Geno Church, Brains on Fire presenting Movements, Activism, and Social Media at BlogOrlando. Me Liveblogging. Great Keynote presentation format. But hard to Liveblog. I hope to learn some points on converting a fan base into a movement.

When you're building a movement, where do you start?

How do you turn your customers, employees into FANS and go ONE LOUDER.

Fan cycle: Participation, Evangelism, Ownership.

Movements start with the first conversation - having converations in a vacuum doesn't allow natural contagion of conversation. People want to talk, insiders and outsiders, Asking for a conversation makes it easier to ask for involvement.

Define the Passion Conversation not the product conversation - People connect through shared passions. It's the things we're most passionate about that we want to talk about.

Empower people with Stories. People love the inside stories. An organization is the stories it tells. Once you identify those champions, advocates, catalysts, you have to bring them to Mecca (metaphor). Then teach them how to share your stories.

Communities have to be both online and offline. Word of Mouth is still mostly offline. Movements are word of mouth are about people, not technology.

Great case study on converting Fiskars from an old style company to a new media community based company. Take 4 moms who are users and crafters and convert them to evangalists. Let them run the community and guide them. Disney doing very similar with their Mom's Panel.

Online Identity with Jake McKee

Liveblogging BlogOrlando session on Online Identity led by Jake McKee. Myself, I have an interesting situation between my Day job and possible conflicts between topics I cover in my blogs, particularly The Disney Blog. Some other interesting stories in the room too.

Some discussion on the 'Personal Brand' - is that an icky concept? Should not the blogger ethos be to put the whole self online and let chips fall where they may.

This is not the first time we've been through a generation of "those teenagers and their Rock'n'Roll," says David Parmet. Have to say I agree, but I'm still going to keep a close watch on who and what is posting about me and my kid.

Personal story time: back in 1998 I started a blog called "You Are Your URL." Much of it was based on the cyberpunk ethos that when you live your life online, you become your online life. That rings very true in today's session. A good strategy is to own as much as you can, and then if something comes back you can at least feel good about what you've done.

How many people in the room are trying to develop a personal brand? About 5 out of 40. I predict next year it will be closer to 20. Even if you're not planning to manage your brand now, the best advice is to own your name. Domain, every new social network, software, etc. Do it for your family too. The metaphor is that your online 'print' is a virtual card that you carry that everyone can pick up even if you don't hand it out.

Keeping Up The Passion with Alex Hillman

Liveblogging "Keeping Up The Passion" with Alex Hillman of Philadelphia's coworking space He'll start with his story about keeping up the passion and then pass it around the room.

Lesson #1: It takes work. Using tools will make it easier, but much of the work takes face to face work.

Lesson #2: Give the people the tools. Let the grassroots take over.

Lesson #3: Listen. Ask what the people want then give it to them. Social Media makes listening easier, for sure.

Every community needs to identify and declare their core values and build around them.

Alex's story about making a homepage that tracks activity in your field to show the world that stuff is going on. Whether it's your email list, blog, technorati search feed, flickr pics, etc. Keep the passion up by keeping the conversation going.

Now some interesting discussion on twittering as a company. Some companies do watch, but would it be better to tap into your community to defend the brand. (I do a bit of that with Disney, btw.)

Question in the room: How do you get a 'movement/community' to be prepared to work without a leader or post-leader? Set up so members are empowered. Nurture, but don't require, permission. If a community member has an idea for an event, check the calendar, and help eliminate duplication of effort, but otherwise support and get out of the way. Creates a feeder system for new leaders and synergies.

Internal Training with Phil Gomes

Liveblogging the Internal Training session at BlogOrlando. How to keep internal staff up to date on latest technologies and what not via Internal Training. Phil Gomes does that at Edelman as senior vice president of digital integration.

Enjoying Phil's story of how it got into this position by tracking online chatrooms, newsgroups, etc for tracking logs at a PR agency. Some of the stories involve difficulty of getting others to accept social media. Finally, landed at Edelman in 2005. Edelman's CEO blogs and it helps with the person at the top gets it (so make sure you educate them, get them involved - my point).

Phil recommends starting your education of your superiors with context. What is the history of bbs, internet, social media and how it applies to today. (Some online videos may help.)

Phil says Success has a 'long tail'. By which he means ignore the big stories and focus on the long tail success examples. Example that you can no longer seperate the nerds, the digitalness, from your day to day operations. It must be integrated into every level.

The Rick Murray rule: No matter how hard you try, no matter the size of your organization, someone is screwing up. ie, uyu can't avoid failure, you can only get up dust yourself off, learn from it, and move on. This is true for training up. You won't always be successful.

There is a lot of debate in organizations over who owns social media. Is it marketing, PR, IT, etc. Phil believes that Public Relations is the discipline. As social media lets us put the public back into public relations.

Phil's secret: Don't call it training. "Would you rather your kids go to sex education or sex training?" An immortal quote to be sure. Everything should rise to the level of education.

Has a lab set up where users come in and actually use the technology. Set up and use delicious, blogs, flickr, twitter, etc. Make sure students are treated as subject matter experts. You're here to provide tools. Let them know that on the internet things can get 'R' rated very quickly, so don't linger, but don't be surprised. Remind them this is a lab and it's for experimenting.

Exercise: Nature's Oven Bread Company

You're Nature's Oven and you have two types of bread "Whole Grain" and "Diet Bread". A Very well known food blogger posts, "OMG WTF Nature's Oven is a ripoff. I was just at whole foods. There are two different breads, but they're just the same (ingredients, size, etc) except the diet one is sliced more thinnly." And it spins out of control. It's the next Kryptonite Lock.

So the challenge of the exercise is what is your response? Response must be less than 125 words, link to an outside credible source, must be conversational and must meet PR ethic standards.

How would you respond?

Phil G, Recommended book Competitive communication: Classical rhetoric for modern business (College custom series) (Eckhouse)

Advanced Wordpress with Mark Jaquith

Mark is a lead developer at Wordpress, I'm liveblogging his session on Advanced Wordpress. And he just jumps right in. So here we go.

Best option is WP Super Cache. Sits in between WP and the clients and cachles the HTML Output WP produces. Works with any level of hosting or traffic. Can fine tune settings to exlude some pages if they have to be dynamic. Obviously we could have a whole hands on class just for this.

Other option is PHP Opcode Cache, APC, eAccelerator, XCache. Try them and see which one works. If you have your own server MySQL Query Cache can speed things up. Batcache is your blog is so popular it requires more than one server. Oh to have that problem.

Upgrading with Subversion
Mark recommends not using FTP to update WP anymore. Instead use Subversion. It's a way to track code changes. Everyone should use because it is less error prone. Will also work with plugins.

address starts with [ file url ]
branches/2.6 - recommend to just get latest files for latest version

cp -R wordpress wp-backup
cd wordpress
svn export -force url . [ the space before the period is important ]

Don't forget to visit WP admin to check for changes.

this will update in just a few seconds. Advice from the back: search :SVN Red Bean" for online book tutorial.

Hardcore: keep all your code in Subversion. Again... over my head.

Advanced URLs techniques
You can add
/feed (or /atom, /rss2) to get feed of anything
/?paged=2 add that to any feed to get 11-20 of feed
/?cat=3,-4 to view just by category or exclude category from feed.

Now you can use this to offer customize feeds to people who come to your site just for one feed.

/?s=foo (? has to be at the end after feed if you're searching a feed)
/search/foo/rss2 - lets you specify the feed
/author/john/feed/ let's you specifiy author

Post Loop - WP_Query

WP_Query let's you customize the loop. Actual code up on powerpoint. Too much to type. Alas.

Raising Digital Children with David Parmet at BlogOrlando

Now liveblogging the Education session at BlogOrlando. Title is Raising Digital Children. David kicked off with this video on youtube, which also reminds me of this video. Both are must watch TV if you're willing to be woken up to the new reality.

First point is that jobs we have today, most did not exist when we were in school. How have schools retooled to deal with this. What are they doing to prepare children for jobs of tomorrow. Also just added that children need unstructured time, time to be bored, and explore on their own.

Discussing The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30) and the disconnect between teaching styles and the millenial generation. We have the tools (computers, projectors, etc) in the classroom now, or most schools do. But we're not utilizing them.

There is a split in families that are digitally aware and those who aren't. The "aren't" group includes families that don't have or use a computer, let alone email, myspace, or other social media. To me as a parent, this means the responsibility is on my to do this work at home. So a course for parents, perhaps with scholarships, would be great for every community.

It comes down to developing critical thinking in the child. Parental supervision (or at least parental direction) is key, of course. Everything else is just a tool.

David's Guidelines:
  • Turn off the TV - David gives his kids just 1/2 a day.
  • Leave the iPhone at home - set a good example for the kids when you're on family time.
  • Keep track of what you're doing - you have to plan and report back on your home schooling. You'll be surprised how many experiences you have that are educational.
  • Give them freedome but don'w tbe afraid to keep an eye on what they're doing - keep computer in public spaces, etc.

Thanks to David for the great session. Visit for his links.

Jake McKee and the Lego Conspiracy

Jake McKee is kicking off the BlogOrlando conference with his great presentation about his role in the effort to bring LEGO into the modern age, at least as far as growing its online community goes. A similar version of this speech is online. So if you're not at BlogOrlando, (and why not!), you can learn the secrets to clueing in your organization too.

Btw, since my other blog is The Disney Blog, you'll note some serious parallels. (ie adult consumers who are passionate about the product and drop 4 or 5 times the amount of $$$ as the usual consumer.)

September 26, 2008


Welcome to what's next for Orlando. I'm excited to be kicking this blog off at BlogOrlando 2008. This is the third year for the unconference organized by the amazing Josh Hallett of Hyku. The previous two years have both advanced my knowledge of and practical ability to use social media multiple times over. I'm sure this year will be no different.